We need to put more Borneo Warrior up here.

Like many others people who started training in martial arts, I was inspired by Bruce Lee. His famous quote ” Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless and add what is specifically your own” that is,

I believe, the best description for MMA.
In the late 80s to early 90s when single style is still very popular, martial artist can’t help but compare each other’s style. There’s no perfect system, but coaches & instructors those days are mostly train in single style which churn out single styled students.
I was one of them & my style was TaeKwonDo. My friends and I would attend other martial competition such as silat, karate, judo and we end up comparing it to Taekwondo and always convinced ourselves TKD was superior.
As Street Fighter & Tekken video game was the rage that time, selecting fighters with a specific style & pit it against another stylist was absolutely fun. Obviously my favourite character was Hwoarang (a TKD stylist). Then the game became reality…1993 the first UFC was held. Pitting different martial arts stylist against each other, with no weight categories and bare knuckle,…it was a dream come true to fight fans
As UFC held more fights, eventually fighters adapt and learn form each other, subseqently this lead to the birth of MMA as we know of today, and also bringing to the forefront, the art of grappling. Initially I never paid much attention to martial art such as Judo, Jiujitsu, KukSoolWon and wrestling, but now in MMA grappling art is a must!
Malaysia is currently experiencing MMA fever…This is largely contributed by the popularity of UFC & ONE FC. MIMMA is pushing the fever temperature higher. Back in the early 2000 when Ultimate Beatdown started, MMA is still an anomaly in Malaysia. MMA is like an underground activities where bets are thrown, blood & sweat are serve & violence is the order of the day.
In come the team of our Minister of Youth & Sports YB Khairy Jamaluddin & Jason Lo of Tune Talk in 2013 with MIMMA (Malaysian Invasion MMA).MIMMA is model after the successful MyTeam ( created by YB Khairy Jamaluddin & Jason Lo in 2006 ), a football selection trials all over Malaysia to choose players to form MyTeam , which challenge the Malaysian national football team in a friendly match.
Federal Minister of Youth & Sports – Khary Jamaluddin (L) and CEO of Tune Talk – Jason Lo (R)

Base on this model, MIMMA held selections in different parts of Malaysia to select & choose fighters from different states to eventually fight in the ladder match & progress to the grand final. Tune Talk came in with the money, endorsement by Ministry of Youth & Sports & with the formation of MASMMA ( Malaysia Association of MMA ), regulation & rules are formed & implemented, these all contributed to make MMA a more high profile, better organised, spectator friendly, regulated, safe & structured sports.

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“MIMMA currently being the biggest amateur mixed martial arts fighting championship in Asia, aims to nurture and grow local talents from the MMA scene by preparing a platform for amateurs to contest and put their highly honed skills and countless hours of dedicated training to the test.” (excerpt from MIMMA web page).
2015 is the 3rd year & it certainlay has grown leaps & bounds

The method of holding tryout in a few region is a recipe for success. This brings out talented fighters from every corner of Malaysia. Some come well prepared, some came to get experience & some came to test the water-found out they like it & even if they fail to be selected on that day, they can better prepare themselves & go for tryout at other location.

11-12 April, I had the privilege to witness the tryout held at 1Borneo Hypermall, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. When it comes to MMA warriors, Sabah certainly has produce great names of Malaysian MMA, such as MIMMA1 Champ – Allen Chong & Adrian Tham, MIMMA2 Champ- Darren Low. ONE FC National Champ- AJ Pyro, Malaysia 1st Female MMA Pro Fighter – Ann Osman, other notable MMA names from Sabah are Richie Celestial Ismail, MIMMA2 finalist, ONE FC Pro fighter Rayner Kinsiong & Marc Marcellinus. These names also lend a hand as MIMMA technical team, helping out in the overall selection.

They are also leaders of their respective gym/teams & actively cornered their fighters during the sparring seesion.

Technical team which comprise of some big names of MMA attending a briefing 
With such long list of prominent MMA names, expectation was certainly high for KK tryouts. As Jason Lo (CEO -Tune Talk) aptly puts it…” What better place to find MMA talents than in Sabah?. The state has produce excellent fighters and there are more talents yet to be discovered in Sabah and we will make sure those talented ones will show up for the tryouts”
Developing new generation of Wariors of Borneo
Allen Chong MIMMA1 Lightweight champ, he has turn pro. Seen here holding his daughter Lana..
potential future MMA Champ!
And certainly Sabah doesn’t dissapoint. This year fighters came in droves. Many are more prepared. Over the last one year period the growth of MMA gym & Muaythai events in Sabah has put in good foundation for Sabahan fighters to develop and sharpen their techniques. But the tryouts are not a place just to show off fighter’s skills, judges are also looking for fighter’s with steely determination, mega doses of heart & abilities to presevere.
Action packed days at 1  Borneo Hypermall Kota Kinabalu
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The Gumbilai Bros Trios – (L to R) Douglas, Dylan & Vallerio.
Doug & Val went thru the pace & shorlisted…
They are grooming  the young Dylan (13yrs) to be a MMA fighter.
Don’t mess with the Lai’s – both qualified for ladder match.  2014 Sam manage to reach the qtr. finals where he lost to eventual winner Agilan Thani. This year Sam is more prepared and hope to see him as one that bring glory to Borneo 

KK was the 4th tryout venue after Johor Bahru, Kuching & Penang. The biggest difference is the numbers of female participants. Highly probably fuel & inspired by Ann Osman’s success in the cage, Sabahan female fighters has embrace the sports & came with good depth in skills & plenty of heart during the sparring. Female category is being introduce this year in the effort to unearth more talents.

Sabah tryouts also see participation of many fighters from surrounding areas such as Labuan & Miri. But the Foreign Pride category (introduce this year for non Malaysian fighters at catchweight of 7.30kg) did not see any participants.

The ladies in action mode!
The Malaysia MMA princess & Tune Talk Warrior – Ann ‘Athena’ Osman, seen here getting the media attention, her presence in KK lending support to her team mates & motivating other female atheletes to emulate her success
AC Poseidon (L) with his prodigy Sunny ‘The Silencer’ Sabordino…whom is hearing impaired..
but this certainly didn’t hinder him from becoming a prolific fighter
By the time this article is published, MIMMA’s last tryout in KL will be completed and all successful atheletes will be gearing up for serious action for the ladder match in May. Wishing all the Borneo Warriors best of luck….Make Borneo Proud!!!

Note: Pictures courtesy of MIMMA FB page & YK tang Photography
PS: a note of Thanks to Alief of the MIMMA Media team for the infor.

I’m with Peter Davis. ONE FC star & Tune Talk Warrior currently at a
four fight winning streak. Keep it up Peter!