Live sport returned to the Republic last night when mixed martial arts organisation One Championship held its Reign of Dynasties event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
But it was not exactly a return to normal. Because of strict measures by the Government to ensure the safety of all participants involved, the show was a closed-door event – just like One’s last show in Singapore in February.
Reign of Dynasties was instead streamed on all of One’s digital platforms, such as its mobile phone app and YouTube channel.
Apart from the athletes, only staff whose physical presence were absolutely crucial to the production of the event were allowed in the Indoor Stadium. Even commentators Michael Schiavello and Mitch Chilson lent their voices to the show remotely, from Australia and the Philippines respectively.
The athletes were all whisked back to their “bubble” at the Shangri-La Hotel soon after each of their fights.
One did everything to ensure the pageantry remained, such as fighters doing their traditional walk out down a ramp to the cage, accompanied by blaring music and video packages.
One events in Singapore typically draw crowds of around 6,000 to the indoor arena, which has a capacity of about 12,000.
Despite the absence of fans, the athletes served up a treat. Roshan Mainam and Liu Peng Shuai set the tone with an exciting first match, in which Indian fighter Mainam won with a rear-naked choke submission in the second round.
In all, only one of the six bouts on the card lasted the distance.
The five that did not included an emotional win for Singapore’s Amir Khan, who knocked out India’s Rahul Raju in the first round.
Amir’s 61-year-old father Tajudeen Ansari was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer in August, and was told by doctors he had up to six months to live.
- OTHER RESULTS
Reece McLaren bt Aleksi Toivonen (knockout)
Eko Saputra bt Murugan Silvarajoo (submission)
Hexigetu bt Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (split decision)
In a telephone call, Amir told The Straits Times: “My dad has been in my corner from day one, and even though he’s not physically well and can barely walk right now, he has been there for me the whole fight week… I wish I can be half the man he is.”
In the main event, Thai veteran Sam-A Gaiyanghadao retained his One Championship strawweight muay thai world title with a second-round technical knockout over Australia’s Josh Tonna.
One group president Teh Hua Fung called the event a “smashing success”. “It feels great to be in Singapore, showcasing our martial arts heroes again in our home country,” he added. “On the health and safety front, we put together very stringent protocols… I am happy to report that so far everything has been smooth, and more tests will be done before sending our athletes back home.”