Seo-Hee top the honours on gala night.
HONG KONG, CHINA - Media OutReach
- 17 September, 2018 - ONE Championship's dual-belted king Martin "The
Situ-Asian" Nguyen and Road FC's dominant atomweight queen Ham Seo-Hee were
handed their crowns as the inaugural Asia MMA Awards' Male and Female Fighters
of the Year on Friday as the leading lights of mixed martial arts gathered for
a gala celebration of the sport as it continues to take the region by storm.
Asia MMA Awards Fighter of the Year Martin Nguyen with Tiger Muay Thai's Viwat Sakulrat, UFC fighter Ben Nguyen and Head Coach of the Year George Hickman. Photo Credit: Bud Lau
For the Vietnamese-Australian Nguyen (11-3) the award caps off an
incredible 12 months that saw him capture ONE's world featherweight and
lightweight belts -- both via knockout.
The 29-year-old has now established himself as arguably the best
pound-for-pound fighter in Asia and was on hand at the Qube at PMQ in the heart
of Hong Kong's Central district on Friday night.
"I'm very honoured to get recognition for
all the hard work and dedication I put into this sport. I want to thank
everyone who has been supporting me from day one, especially the fans," Nguyen
"It's been a rollercoaster ride this
year, but don't ever count me out. That's the worst thing you can ever do is
count me out. I'll be back in the winning column this year."
South Korean Ham (18-8) was also there to
share the spotlight and to raise a glass to a year that has seen her win and
defend her atomweight title and further add to her reputation as one of
the toughest fighters on the planet.
"I've been training hard for the past six
year and this year is the culmination of all my work," said the 31-year-old.
"This award has inspired me to keep going
and continue to train harder. I'm very happy and I'm very surprised. I want to
that all my team for their support."
Around 200 of Asian MMA's major players
descended on Hong Kong for a night that reflected on the greatest moments the
sport witnessed over the past 12 months while warming everyone up for a future
that promises plenty more action.
The world's major promotions shared the spoils on the big night, with
the UFC's stunning first foray into the Chinese market -- UFC Shanghai: Bisping
vs Gastelum last November -- being named Event of the Year, while South Korea's
"Mr Perfect" Kang Kyung-Ho (14-8, one no contest) was on hand in Hong Kong to
accept the Submission of the Year for the triangle choke that finished Guido
"Ninja'" Cannetti (8-3) at UFC Fight Night 127. The UFC's wildly popular Red
Dela Cruz was also up on stage to accept the Ring Girl of The Year award.
UFC Asia vice-president Kevin Chang said it was a great
honour to collect the Event of the Year for its first event in Mainland China.
"It's been an amazing year for the UFC
and I want to thank everyone who has been there from day one," Chang said.
"I remember how it was six or seven years
ago, not many people knew what MMA was. We're just really glad to be here to
represent what the sport really means.
"Next year we're hoping to open more and
more markets in Asia."
Along with Nguyen's honour, the Singapore-based ONE Championship had
Philippine bantamweight hero Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon (19-5) handed Best
Walkout for the traditional Ifugao tribe song that takes him out into battle,
while there was pandemonium among the Hong Kongers present when local heavyweight
hero Alain "The Panther" Ngalani (4-4, one no contest) was handed the
Knockout of the Year award for his historic 13-second demolition of Hideki
"Shrek" Sekine (7-2) at ONE: Total Victory in Jakarta.
Cheers also went off around the room when the Fight of the Year was
awarded to the bantamweight bout between Moon Jea-Hoon (10-11) and Asakura Kai
(5-1) at Road FC 039 -- a true epic ended when Moon landed the knockout
blow with seconds remaining in the third.
"The Asia MMA
Awards are a celebration of all the things we love about the sport and pay
tribute to the people who get in that cage and put on a show for us all," said
Matt Eaton, founder and CEO of Hong Kong-based Asia MMA award hosts and
organisers Tap Media.
"We want to give
these fighters the recognition they are due, but to also honour those who are
sometimes missed by the spotlight, from
head coaches to gym owners, photographers, ring girls and the brands that
support the fighters on their journey."
The debut of the
Asia MMA Awards in Hong Kong also precedes a huge weekend for combat sports in
Saturday (15 Sept), the Copa De Hong Kong BJJ tournament returns to the
Tsim Sha Tsui Community Hall for its fifth year, while further up North in
Guangzhou on Saturday night is the rebirth of Legend FC.
The Asia MMA
Awards gala dinner was supported by Hong Kong's top craft brewery Young
Masters, Harley Davidson, Opro,
Tune Talk, Cellarmaster Wines, production
agency RESET, digital and virtual reality agency Shadow Factory,
plus Mojo Nomad hotels.
everything that's happening in Asian MMA, and to find out who's doing what to
whom, head to The Fight Nation -- brought to you by Tap Media.
information, please contact Matt Eaton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the Asia MMA
Best Walkout - Kevin Belingon, ONE Championship
Photographer of the Year - David Ash
Best Technical Equipment - Venum
Amateur Fighter of the Year - Theebaan Govindasamy, MIMMA
Best Destination Gym - Tiger Muay Thai & MMA
Ring Girl of the Year - Red Dela Cruz, UFC
Event of the Year - UFC Shanghai: Bisping vs. Gastelum
Most Functional Clothing Brand - Reebok
Rookie of the Year - Hwang In-Su, ROAD FC
Gym of the Year - Team Lakay
Submission of the Year - Kang Kyung-Ho subs. Guido Cannetti (triangle)
-- UFC Fight Night 127
Head Coach of the Year - George Hickman, Tiger Muay Thai & MMA
Knockout of the Year - Alain Ngalani KO'd Hideki Sekine - ONE: Total
TFN Readers' Choice Award - Max Leali
Fight of the Year - Moon Jea-Hoon vs. Asakura Kai, Road FC
Male Fighter of the Year - Martin Nguyen, ONE Championship
Female Fighter of the Year - Ham Seo-Hee, ROAD FC