It was a different kind of mixed martial arts event – one that will be remembered by many for a long time.
Fight For Change 2019 ended on a high last night as the organisers – Twentytwo13 and Malaysia Mixed Martial Arts Association (MASMMAA) achieved their objectives of educating the masses about mixed martial arts while championing the welfare of journalists in the country. The event was supported by National Press Club of Malaysia (NPC) with at least RM20,000 raised for the club’s Journalist Welfare Fund.
Four fights in various categories and two demonstrations were held during the nearly three-hour event at Cobra Rugby Club in Petaling Jaya leading to the highlight of the night – the duel between Twentytwo13 co-founder and editor Haresh Deol and Shareh ‘The Jeneral’ Nasrullah of Lekir Fitness & Mixed Martial Arts Association.
Haresh, who is also NPC deputy president, lost via a rear naked chokehold in one minute and 37 seconds of the first round.
“The media industry in Malaysia has been in major decline, especially this year, with news organisations shutting down and downsizing, forcing many talented and experienced journalists, editors, sub-editors, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, illustrators and even advertisement sales executives out of jobs,” said Twentytwo13 co-founder and managing editor Pearl Lee.
“On behalf of Twentytwo13 and the organising committee, I would like to record our heartiest appreciation to Fight For Change 2019 gold sponsor YTL Group and silver sponsor AirAsia for believing in our cause.
“To our other sponsors – Francis Yew, Rantau Golin, Amnig, KT Tape, Surian Cards Printing, Media247, Global Oak Tree Scholars, F&N Beverages and Asiana Global Media – we wish to thank you for your kindness that will go a long way.”
The crowd was kept at the edge of their seats with the five exciting MMA matches and Brazilian Ju Jitsu and Muay Thai demonstrations.
Students from Shah Alam-based international school Global Oak Tree Scholars (GOTS) added more drama to the event with their live Taiko drums performance during Haresh’s entrance into the cage.
Haresh’s opponent, Shareh, said he was delighted to be part of the event.
“Anything to promote the sport and for charity. It was a wonderful event and I hope people have seen the beauty of MMA and that it is a suitable sport for people of all ages and sizes,” said Shareh.
NPC president Datuk Ahirudin Attan commended the effort.
“I salute Haresh for fighting for change not just for the media but also for MMA. On behalf of the NPC, I would like to thank him and the organising committee for this excellent event. I hope we can raise awareness of the plight of our fellow journalists who have lost their jobs,” he said.
Among those who attended last night’s event were Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and Badminton Association of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria, NPC trustee Datuk Nuraina Samad, Malaysia’s first medalist at the MMA World Championships Colleen Augustin and former national hurdler Noraseela Khalid.
Norza added OCM will always support events that bring the media faternity together and promote sports at any level.
“I met Haresh after his fight and congratulated him for putting up a good show despite his defeat,” Norza added.
Featherweight: Chiam Chok Kim (Irongrid) bt Meor Aiman Hakim (UMF) via TKO (1:15s of Round 3)
Featherweight: Jic Chia Ho (Muayfit) bt Muhammad Alif Hatta (UMF) via Kimura (2:43s of Round 1)
Featherweight: Tan Lik Ming (Muayfit) bt Muhammad Adib Shaharudin (UMF) via TKO (2:02s of Round 1)
Youth C: Eva Anastasia Warren (Karabaw) bt Zulaiqa Myra (Lekir) via decision
Catchweight: Shareh Nasrullah (Lekir) bt Haresh Deol (Twentytwo13) via rear-naked choke (1:37s of Round 1)
Images by Amar Qastellani, Kamarul Akhir and Samsul Said.