The Timorese National MMA Championships took place in front of a 600-strong crowd on 28th November in the city of Baucau, East Timor. This nationwide MMA tournament for aspiring young mixed martial arts athletes was the first MMA tournament to take place in the country and highlighted the potential the country has to participate and compete at major international MMA events.
The Championships saw a total of six MMA and five Muay Thai bouts with athletes representing towns and cities across Timor Leste. The following teams took part in the event:
- Team Lafaek MMA
- Tama Laka Muay Thai MMA
- Team Liurai Muay Thai MMA
- Team Natrura Muay Thai MMA
- Team Assalaino Muaythai MMA
The tournament was organised to give the young athletes important experience competing at an event and also to allow them to have fun.
It was a difficult tournament to organise due to the lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions that the country had to undergo with gyms and businesses closed at one point in time.
In fact, there was a boxing event with one Muay Thai exhibition bout that was supposed to take place earlier in the year and the Timorese National MMA Championships had to be postponed twice because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Therefore, the local organising committee, Federeçao Muaythai Timor Leste, was very excited to pull this off in these times.
The athletes at the Championships showcased their skills, as well as excellent sportsmanship, signalling an exciting future for Timorese MMA.
Some of the most outstanding athletes were:
- Nelia Cardozo Soares
- Joel Amaral Franco Barto
- Anito Fernandes
- Joes Manuel Exposto
- Basilo Da Silva
“In the future, we hope to have more events and teams participating. We are working on improving the level of the coaches’ skills in Timor Leste so that we can have quality bouts from our athletes,” said Sports Director of Federeçao Muaythai Timor Leste, Alberth Xavier.
GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt also praised efforts by the Federation to develop amateur mixed martial arts in Timor Leste.
“With one of GAMMA’s priorities being youth development, carefully planned tournaments which attract participants are crucial to athlete development,” he said. “We are delighted and thankful that they have shown so much grit, resilience, and passion to make the Championships happen.”
The organising committee for the Timorese National MMA Championships are as follows:
- President Kiak
- Vice President Zeka
- Sports Director Alberth
- Antonio Barto Logistics and coaching (FMMTL)
After a successful first tournament, GAMMA looks forward to seeing further growth from Timor Leste and hopes to see them represented at the upcoming World Championships.