Fist come,
fist served

As Mixed Martial Arts get extremely popular in the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship gets ready to move for more action

By James Jose

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Published: Sat 23 Oct 2010, 9:56 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:53 AM

He is the new face of I SEE Events, the event management company responsible for creating the Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship (ADFC), the MMA Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. Ever since he took over as Chief Operating Officer after Round 1 of the three-round championship, changes have been quite visible. Randall Yogachandra seems to be a man on a mission, making the event bigger and better.

The event is sanctioned by the UAE Wrestling, Judo & Jiu-Jitsu Federation.

Fighters like Abu Dhabi resident, Marcos Oliveira, Neil Wain, Shamil Abdurahimov and Sokoudjou Nkamhoua competed in the Main Card of the Championship.

The undercard also featured Emiratis, Hassan Al Rumaithi and Ali Mohammed Ali Abdullah Ahli, India’s, Bhupesh Kamble, Canadian Vaughn Anderson, Mohammed Al Mansouri, Michel Maia, Raafat Shawe, Malik Omarov, Jake Short, Abdallah Abou Hamdan, Miaco Reiter, Felipe Enomoto, Fernand Lopez, Matteo Piran and Luciano Ferreira.

Yogachandra looks at ADFC as a way to spread the sport in the region and to discover new talent. “In Round 1, we had some good fights and some good entertainment. What I want is to get is extreme fighting here. We also want to educate people about MMA. It is new in the region and we want to showcase what MMA is all about. Our direction is to uncover new talent,” said Yogachandra.

He said that response to the ADFC has been huge and they got a lot of enquiries from fighters, who wanted to be a part of the championship. But they had a strict selection process before picking the fighters.

“We have about 300 fighters in the database and it is a difficult process to screen fighters. We mainly focus on fighters from the UAE. As for the others, we look at their records, style and technique when it comes to picking them. That is how they are selected to represent the ADFC,” he says. “We have about 100 Emirati fighters who want to fight in the ADFC but they don’t have the experience yet. We need to build them up before they step up to the ADFC. A lot of gyms have contacted us about their fighters and that they wanted to fight. But then again, they need experience. At the end of the day, we want to put on a good show with quality fights.”

Yogachandra said that the ADFC provided a platform for budding fighters in the region to make a mark. “A lot of our fighters have the talent. And I look at ADFC as a platform for these fighters. Abu Dhabi has so many world class events like tennis and Formula One happening here and nd the ADFC will add to that,” said Yogachandra.

Yogachandra, who was born in the Philippines but has made Abu Dhabi home, said that these fighters will eventually move on and take part in other events around the world, but he added that the ADFC had made a positive impact in the region.

Yogachandra expects the championship will go international eventually. “Dubai will be a location next season, but for now, it will be Abu Dhabi,” he says.

About Round 3, which will be held in March next year, Yogachandra says, “Round 3 is already in the works and it will be held in March next year. But we haven’t finalised the date as yet. It is going to be a great spectacle and we will also have some big surprises.”

He added: “ADFC will also launch a MMA gym. There is no specific MMA gym in the region. So, this is one of our ideas. It will help these fighters so that they can train there.”

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