Rashid Salleh is a huge fan of mixed martial arts. It came as no surprise when the actor and sports commentator was recently elected as the President of Malaysian Mixed Martial Arts Association (MASMMAA).
There were no big announcements or a party to welcome his new post, rather choosing to switch his focus to the development of the sport right away through the world’s largest martial arts organization ONE Championship with an ultimate goal in sight – the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, America. “My responsibility as the new President of MASMMAA is quite clear, I’d like to create more awareness as well as develop the mixed martial arts scene in Malaysia.
“The long-term plan is to realize the dream of having a Malaysian athlete when (hopefully) MMA becomes part of the Olympics in 2028. So, it is apparent that MMA in Malaysia requires a development plan starting now,” the Sarawak-born said. The MASMMAA committee was appointed in mid-October and besides Salleh, it features a host of Malaysia’s top martial artists, all who displayed their trait at ONE Championship.
Ann Osman will serve as Vice President, while three other ONE Championship athletes will hold a role of athletes’ welfare officers – poster-boy Peter Davis, Agilan “Alligator” Thani and Saiful “The Vampire” Merican. “MASMMAA is blessed to have ONE Championship athletes in our new committee.”
“Ann Osman will create more opportunities for female athletes and her experience as an MMA exponent is of great value to us. Also, Jihin “Shadowcat” Radzaun is creating quite a name for herself at ONE Championship, so the future of women MMA athletes is looking ever so bright.”
He added, “The need to bring the sport together is important and that can only be done when we understand each other’s objectives. Of course, being the sanctioning body for MMA in Malaysia, this will cement our relationship further.”
The actor who was part of the country’s best local sitcom “Kopitiam” said inline with his ambitions, athletes safety is a top priority for MASMMAA.
“MASMMAA would like to establish a relationship with all the promotions around the country to get everyone aligned with the Sports Commissioner Office.”
“This is so that the sanctioning of these promotions is understood and of course, the safety and welfare of the athletes involved are also addressed in order to ensure the smooth running of any MMA events in Malaysia,” he sternly said.
In Malaysia, several promotions had always tried to bring the sport to greater heights. There are your Ultimate Beatdown’s, Malaysia Full Contact Martial Arts, Golden Warriors Fight Championship, Malaysian Fight Fest and the country’s largest amateur MMA platform Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts (MIMMA).
Salleh was an integral member of the latter, being a host and scriptwriter for MIMMA from 2013 to 2016, also admitting despite the current fanbase growing bigger, it is still a relatively new sport to most Malaysians.
“We must remember that despite the recent noise on social media and other media outlets, it is still a relatively new sport in Malaysia. We will need to work closely with the other martial arts associations to gain trust and credibility for the sport and this is something that needs to be addressed.
“The need to bring everyone together and share the knowledge is crucial to bring MMA in Malaysia forward. Hence, the new committee is already looking at other avenues to keep the ball rolling. There’s plenty of work to do.”
Salleh will star in Malaysia’s first ever MMA movie Sangkar, set for release in May next year. The movie will also star ONE Championship’s Jihin “Shadowcat” Radzuan who will be displaying her traits when The Home Of Martial Arts returns to Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur with ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS. In the cage, by the cage side, as an actor or from his work office he continuously strives to bring the sport to a greater height and there’s no one better than Salleh as Malaysia’s MMA president.