The long-felt need in Cambodia to bring various forms of fighting sports into the mainstream of the growingly popular mixed martial arts has now been effectively addressed.
Following the green signal given by the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia to form the Cambodian Mixed Martial Arts Association (CMMAA) late last year, the fledgling governing body was officially launched at the NOCC headquarters yesterday.
NOCC Secretary General Vath Chamroeun, who is also an advisor to the Tourism Ministry, will head the CMMAA with Chea Nara as the vice-president.
Hok Chheang Kim has been named as the secretary general and Tin Vichet as treasurer, while Ton Sophal has been nominated as a member of the executive committee.
The 2002 European MMA Champion David Minetti has been drafted in as technical director to oversee fighters training and integration of various martial art forms now being practiced in the country. The event manager of the Beeline Arena, a multi-purpose indoor sports complex, Charles Julliard, will serve the CMMAA as communication advisor.
“Any form of fighting sport is welcome to join CMMAA, so long as they train under the MMA Rules and respect them,” Vath Chamroeun told the Post yesterday.
“There is a misconception we wish to drive away that cage fights are violent and present danger to the fighters. Our main aim is to ensure absolute safety for the fighters so that they can bring forth their ability, power and skills of fighting.
“This was long time coming. Every single fighting discipline will benefit from this including traditional ones like Bokator.”
Vath Chamroeun also noted that the association was looking for a local television channel as a partner, “so that there could be extensive coverage”.
The three main objectives of the CMMAA are to develop and regulate the sport in the Kingdom, to ensure fighters’ security and to manage referees, judges, coaches and clubs, licences and fighters.
In fact, no MMA event can be organised in the country without CMMAA approval.
The country’s first national MMA event, the Ultimate Khmer Championship, has been set for June this year. The event, being branded as UKC: Birth of Champions, will be held at Beeline Arena.
“We are working out exclusive rights for live feed on local television with several local channels. We are planning 10 fights during this event, one of which will carry a world title belt in the 77kg category,” Charles Juliard told the Post.