From Time Out Magazine-HK
Slice of life by Hamish McKenzie- Mixed martial artiste
Our writer puts his paltry body on the line against a world champion fighter.
My face is far too close for comfort to a world champion mixed martial arts fighter’s testicles. Adrian ‘The Hunter’ Pang has my head in a leg lock, and he’s been wrestling me – it’d be wrong to say I’ve been wrestling back, so pathetic am I in his vise-like grip – for just a couple of minutes. But I’m already exhausted, I’m already bruised, and I’ve already been made to look like a flailing armless monkey in front of two colleagues, a PR girl, two trainers, another world-class fighter, and the two event organisers, all of whom are looking on with wide, satisfied grins. In hindsight, I feel a little sheepish for asking the bulky Australian ahead of the tussle: ”Are you ready for my fury?” One could also argue, I suppose, that it was a less-than-wise idea to elbow him in the face. Pang is what we in the fighting industry call “frightening”. At about 70kg each, we’re matched for weight, but you could say he has the slight advantage of being 98 percent hard, sculpted muscle, while I’m 98 per cent pasty white beer fat. As well as being the Australasian lightweight MMA champion, he’s also the Australian champion in the lightweight division of cage fighting, and, most recently, he won the MMA lightweight world title in a fight that went for five rounds of five minutes each. “It was pretty gory, but I carne out unscathed,” he tells me nonchalantly. Pang, who is half Chinese, is here at a Central gym to promote Hong Kong’s first -ever MMA fighting championship, which features 18 fighters from Asia-Pacific and takes place at HITEC on Monday, January 11.The fight night is the initiative of two American chaps intent on bringing MMA action to Hong Kong and Macau on a permanent basis. They recently formed a company called Legend and have been seeking out top MMA talent from around the region to bring the sport to our shores. Pang is their prize draw. He grew up in Papua New Guinea, where he once caught a spear in the forearm after, he says, being caught up in the fringes of a tribal skirmish (he has a massive scar to show for it), and moved to Australia as a boy. As a young man, he trained in martial arts in Mong Kok, but he now lives in Brisbane and juggles his fight training with his own cabinetmaking business.
He says there’s a lot of strategy to MMA and holds up a Hong Kong legend as one of his heroes. “Once I saw MMA, I knew that was the ultimate,” he says, pointing out that it cribs the best parts of all martial arts to form a style with no set style. ”Being a big fan of Bruce Lee, I know that’s what he would have advocated. “Meanwhile, I’ve gained the ascendancy in the fight, momentarily rolling over top of the not-really-hapless Pang while he lies strewn on the ground. For about 0.5 of a second. “Victory!” I yell, as he swiftly flips me onto my back, tucks my elbow behind my ear, and folds my right leg in triple. All of sudden, my face is in that position again, just a tad too close to one pair of cold steel balls. Maybe I should take up cabinet making.
Legend Mixed Martial Arts Fighting Championship, HITEG, January 11, 31288288, hkticketingcom. Follow Hamish on Twitter (twitter:comlhkham)