Fight fans leave happy following MMA’s sanctioned debut

HCMC - The slap of stiff kicks on flesh. The spray of sweat jarred free by a well-placed jab. The whistles at the ring girls doing laps of the octagon with placards for each round held high.

Two fighters at the Bai Danh Chien’s event at Saigon Sports Club on Sunday, December 13 – PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ORGANIZER

For fight fans of all levels of interest, Bai Danh Chien’s event at Saigon Sports Club this past Sunday had something for everyone.

Were some things a little irregular? Certainly. Boxing matches don’t typically take place in an octagon, and there are the obvious wrinkles of staging MMA when it’s only recently been sanctioned. Sitting with some of the boxing referees ringside, it was clear it was their first time taking in an event of this kind and their lack of familiarity with it. The MMA fights were all refereed by a Westerner from the local fighting community.

Organizer Nguyen Hoai Nam said that while this event featured some intense matchups, local talent was the main option considering travel restrictions with the global Covid-19 pandemic and other factors. He had his eye on upping the ante for the next event.

“For sure, we will bring higher-quality bouts (in the next card)… Should be around end of February or early March,” he said. “The crowd was too excited sometimes, we will need to maintain better order. But the atmosphere was really amazing, and accommodation for the audience was abundant with different seats, foods, and drinks.”

There was certainly an interesting mix in attendance: locals, foreigners, fight fans and more casual observers. The crowd was fed a steady stream of fighters with no lulls between bouts, and the food and drink options ranged from Filipino barbecue and Mexican tacos to local craft beer. Standard seats, ringside and VIP options catered to the varied spectators as well.

To stay abreast of more promotions in the Bai Danh Chien fight series or other events at Saigon Sports Club, follow their Facebook pages for details about upcoming events.

Below are some photos from the event.