A new kind of entertainment, an aggressive combat sport is slowly but surely being popularized in Sri Lanka. The SLMMA (Sri Lanka Mixed Martial Arts) headed by Dr Haren Jayasinghe have initiated this sport as “The Colombo Fight Night” (CFN) in Sri Lanka. Most of us used to watch boxing and wrestling matches on TV but never had an opportunity to see these type of combat live. For spectators, Colombo Fight Night (CFN) offers an exhilarating, entirely visceral thrill, the founder Dr. Haren Jayasinghe describing it as “one long adrenaline rush” and said “watching live fights happen in front of you is an incomparable experience. I urge everyone to try it at least once.”
Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full contact combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques and skills, from a mixture of other combat sports, to be used in competitions. The rules allow the use of both striking as well as grappling techniques, both while standing and while on the ground. Such competitions allow fighters of different backgrounds to compete. But a fighter must train hard for a mixed martial art (MMA) event like this – even a master of one style can get knocked out with humiliating ease if he doesn’t adapt.
MMA is essentially the sport and the science of fighting. Originating in Brazil in the form of no-rules combat, MMA came to America in 1993 and now has spread all over the world.The name mixed martial arts was coined by Rick Blume, president and CEO of Battlecade, in 1995. Following these changes, the sport has seen increased popularity with pay per view reach rivalling boxing and professional wrestling. MMA fighters specialize in different Martial Arts, some in boxing, some in Karate, some in wrestling, etc. and most train in multiple martial arts. But they all compete under the same rules; they all compete against each other.
“The best fighters are made in the clubs and the Dojos where they do hard training, pad work and full contact sparring. Endless Katas and arranged sparring done in some clubs may look fancy but are next to useless in a fight,” says Haren.
“It’s my passion to see MMA succeed as a popular sport in Sri Lanka and for our fighters to compete and win abroad in the near future,” says Haren. For CFN to succeed, he has had to ensure that the sport is actually less brutal than it looks. Like the wildly successful Ultimate Fighting Championships, CFN too follows safety standards set by America’s Nevada Athletic Commission. “Nose bleeds, broken noses, bumps and lumps, sprains do occur as they are part and parcel of any combat or contact sport such as Rugby or Boxing. Anything more serious is preventable for the most part by early stoppage of fights and good referring,” he says.
“I always try to match exciting fights that will give the audience a nail biting tension filled experience,” says Haren. It might surprise some to find a doctor at the centre of something like this but Haren is a fighter himself. He says he’s been studying martial arts for over 2 decades and has a background is in Muay Thai, freestyle wrestling and Brazilian Jujitsu. Having lived abroad most of his life, Haren returned to Sri Lanka only last year. He set Colombo Fight Night as a great testing ground for local fighters.
The Colombo Fight Night now held every month and is even filmed for television. You’ll find in depth coverage, videos and facebook fan pages dedicated to MMA in Sri Lanka and to individual fighters online and the federation itself is registered with the Ministry of Sports. The 6th CFN is scheduled for 20th August and will be an eventful one.
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