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Mixed martial arts need to be modified for Vietnam penetration

In the Vietnamese spirit, it is unacceptable to allow a fighter to seek a win by continuing to punch the body of his rival lying unconsciously in the ring, which is typical of mixed martial arts matches.

This is not sportsmanship in the eyes of Vietnamese people, said Vietnamese martial arts Vovinam master Vo Van Chieu about mixed martial arts (MMA), which has become increasingly popular around the world.

Many other Vietnamese martial arts masters agreed with the judgment about MMA and added that it should be modified so that the sport can be organized for official competition in Vietnam.

Cruel combat

Despite criticizing the competition regulations of MMA, master Chieu admitted that he was impressed with MMA the first time he watched a match on television.

It is highly competitive and attractive, he added. Fighters can use both hands and legs for attacks.

“In short, an MMA fighter does everything to beat his rival,” Chieu said.

MMA fights are televised on many sports channels in Vietnam now.

Its rings are often bathed in the blood of fighters. During a fight, an MMA ring has its door locked with three people inside, including two fighters and a referee.

Fighters in MMA rings are allowed to use deadly blows to knock out rivals, except for biting and tearing their eyes out.

“It is very violent and cruel in the MMA ring.

“The most dishonorable image for a sportsman is to see a fighter continue to punch the body of his rival who is unconscious.

“A fighter fights for a win, but a fighter doesn’t need a win at any price, even in the lack of sportsmanship,” said Chieu.

Vietnamese people do not accept that kind of competitive spirit, he said. In addition, MMA rings fail to meet the safety requirbents as instructed by the state for sport competition, he further explained.

Giap Trung Thang, Vietnamese master of Thai kickboxing, shared similar sentiments.

Thang said that, “MMA is more cruel than Thai kickboxing and that’s why it is more attractive to spectators around the world.”

MMA competition laws need to be modified in Vietnam

Vo Danh Hai, a Vietnamese Vovinam master and deputy chairman of the World Martial Arts Association, said that MMA competition rules ban 50 types of attacks, including attacking the lower part of abdomen, biting and tearing eyes out.

Other forms of martial arts have more bans than in MMA, he said.

Despite the cruelty, MMA is a favorite sport because it satisfies the hunger for victory and success of its fighters.

“MMA is actually not a martial art but a ring combing all martial arts in the world,” Hai judged.

Hai suggested that MMA will surely be supported for official competition in Vietnam if it is modified, for example with rules to absolutely ban beating an unconscious rival.

Vuong Bich Thang, head of the General Sports Department, confirmed that sports with high anti-personnel characteristics are not encouraged in Vietnam.

“We need to mull it over carefully before granting a license for the official competition of MMA in Vietnam,” Thang added.

Southeast Asia a potential market for MMA

Joe Carr, vice director of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), expressed last year his plan to promote MMA in Asia, especially the potential market in Southeast Asia.

He was quoted by the Japan Times as saying that the promotion of MMA in Asia is certain because the market has a large population.

With the economic growth in the region, locals have higher motivation for entertainment, he added. Asians love martial arts, and a match between a Japanese fighter and a rival from China, for instance, will attract enthusiastic support from fans from the two nations.

In reality, MMA is already prevalent in many Asian nations now, such as South Korea, India, China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

In Vietnam, the competition of any sports with high risks for athletes must be considered by the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and get the approval of the General Sports Department.

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