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only infrequently. The  rst big MMA tournament was in 2009, when the Venetian Macao hosted an event fea- turing some notable international  ght- ers such as Brazilian António Braga Neto and Dutch-Surinamese Rodney Glunder. Momentum seemed to be building.


Shortly after, City of Dreams hosted Macau’s  rst MMA cage  ght, “Fury: Clash of the Titans”, in May last year. Suddenly, things went south. First,


last October, “Fury 2: Armageddon”, an MMA event scheduled to be held at City of Dreams, was cancelled with only a few days’ warning. As the  ghters were arriving, allegations  ew that the promoter had swindled nearly HK$13 million (US$1.6 million). With their ho- tel rooms cancelled,  ghters were left with nowhere to stay, stranded either in Macau or Hong Kong with no paid re- turn  ights. Less


than three months later,


can take MMA to the big time in Macau, partnering with


the Legend Fighting


Championship, Hong Kong’s  rst pro- fessional MMA competition. The resort will hold a series of four events over the next 12 months in a bid to diversify its entertainment landscape.


Young bucks Melco Crown’s director for public re- lations and projects, Charles Ngai, explains the importance of the tour- naments. “With the rapidly growing interest


in MMA, we feel that  ght


sports events such as the Legend Fight- ing Championship will have a ready audience in this part of the world who are looking for entertainment with a difference.” Mr Ngai says the partnership with


a


new MMA event, “Mayhem in Macao”, booked to take place at the Venetian Ma- cao last January, was cancelled by the promoter who blamed low ticket sales. Now City of Dreams is betting it


the Legend Fighting Championship is meant to appeal to Hong Kong’s estab- lished MMA fan base. “We are con - dent that a large portion of this loyal fan base will follow the tournament migra- tion to Macau, which is just a short boat- ride away.” Chris Pollak, co-founder of the Legend Fighting Championship, says


techniques and skills from a mixture of other combat sports – including sanda, wushu, jiujitsu, muay thai, boxing and wrestling – in supervised matches under a strict set of rules designed to protect the safety of the  ghter. Most professional  ghts last for three or  ve rounds of  ve


What is MMA? M


minutes each, with a one-minute rest between each. A  ghter can win the contest by knocking out his opponent or forcing him to submit, by a technical knockout or the decision of the judges, or if a doctor decides his opponent cannot continue. A  ghter must wear a mouth guard, groin protector, mittens


and MMA shorts. No other equipment, such as shoes, elbow pads, knee pads, shirts or athletic tape is allowed.


K.L. JULY 2011


his organisation is thrilled to bring four world-class MMA events to Maca u. “We are once again featuring champion Asia- Paci c MMA athletes for what we an- ticipate will be our most exciting com- petition to date,” he says. Legend 5 and subsequent events at


City of Dreams will be the  rst MMA  ghts to be broadcast internationally from Macau, to the mainland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia the United States and Canada. Whether MMA can help Macau’s


casinos to increase their non-gaming revenue is debatable. Yet with MMA’s primary audience being af uent males aged between 20 and 40, it could de - nitely attract people more willing to spend their discretionary dollars on at- tractions other than gambling. Joe Poon, an associate at Standard


and Poor’s, does not think gaming rev- enue will be knocked off its perch over- night. “While a heavy chunk of Macau’s operators’ investments in recent years have targeted leisure travellers, we be- lieve it may take many years for their reliance on the VIP gaming customer to reduce.”


ixed martial arts, or MMA, is an inter-disciplinary full- contact combat sport. It allows a wide variety of  ghting


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