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Bend It Like Bedi

Saturday, 5 August 2017 | MYT 9:57 AM

MMA is supposed to be about skill in the cage, not trash talking

Not a day goes by without there being some sort of "news" on the upcoming boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor on Aug 26.

Whether it's about McGregor's pinstripe suit or Mayweather's "money", most of the news has bordered on the ridiculous.

These included both parties trading barbs and insults with one another, some of which weren't funny at all.

It has slightly quietened down since the four press conferences last month to promote the match, but it's still hard to escape the exploits and every move of these two.

In short, this showdown is nothing but a farce. It's a farce to sports in general and boxing especially. Muhammad Ali would be turning over in his grave.

From what I've gathered so far, it's only about the money. The sums are incredible. McGregor seems to be the biggest winner in this whole farce. If he wins and that seems highly unlikely since he is not a boxer.

After all, Mayweather holds a 49-0 record in boxing, although he has never knocked anyone out since 2011.

If McGregor loses, which is probably what will happen, he still wins. He gets a ridiculous amount of money and the glory for accepting the challenge to box with Mayweather.

It has been speculated that Mayweather agreed to the match because he has no money in reality and owes the tax man a whole lot.

To me, this match is akin to asking a rugby union team to play against an American football team in the latter's format.

Maybe the New Zealand All Blacks can play against the New England Patriots in an American Football match.

Or perhaps, getting the Malaysian hockey team to play the Canadian ice-hockey team.

You can see where I'm going with this.

For someone like me who just got interested in MMA not too long ago, these kind of match-ups makes me wonder if it's a mockery to the sports.

It's so obvious that everything is about how much ratings you get and how much money you can skim off people.

But MMA is not like that in reality. It is about the likes of Saiful "Vampire" Merican, a Malaysian fighter who shows humility and humbleness outside the octagon.

It is about how people learn martial arts and get the opportunity to showcase this at the highest level.

The Terengganu-born fighter who specialises in Muay Thai competes in the ONE Championship, said to be the biggest MMA promotion in Asia.

There is no trash talk from Saiful, who explains that kind of behaviour is more common in the Westerns countries, especially in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

What does he think about the McGregor-Mayweathter fight?

"It's turning into WWE…but its good marketing for the sport. You have the biggest name in MMA versus the biggest name in boxing. It's good for them," said the affable fighter from Setiu, Terengganu.

For Saiful, MMA is about respect, being humble, sacrifices and never giving up. After all that's what Saiful is about.

Today, Saiful will fight against Len Chen from China in a Bantamweight bout in Macau.

This is his first overseas bout with ONE championship and hopefully the first of many for the fighter who has a 5-3 record.

Hopefully he gets his shot at the title one day soon.

Learning martial arts is not about showing off, just like that guy who tried to mess with some Nepali guards but got in a spot of trouble at a Subang Jaya apartment recently.

"That is a bad impression of an MMA fighter. A professional fighter would not fight in the street unless it was for self-defense," said Saiful.

Likewise, the trash talking is really unbecoming of a sport which is looking more and more like WWE.

Hopefully that part of the sport, which is really growing in Malaysia, gets sorted out.

 

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