Owner and manager of Rough House Training Centre in St. James, Adam De Silva, believes that the quality of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in Trinidad and Tobago has grown 10 times over.
Speaking with Newsday earlier today at the centre, De Silva said that the art of MMA is garnering more recognition from TT citizens than before. “People no longer look at it like how it was in the 90’s. It’s no longer looked at like two people fighting in a cage like animals, trying to rip each other’s heads off,” he said. He added that the talent of athletes venturing into the MMA arena has grown.
De Silva, who has practised judo and MMA fighting since he was eight years old, expressed that there is a higher calibre of athletes participating in local MMA. Speaking of fellow MMA fighter, Dwayne Hinds, De Silva said that this country has a lot of good MMA talent. “Dwayne participated in the One FC battle in Singapore and even came second in the fan-favourite award. That match was broadcast throughout Asia. He is also the first MMA fighter from Trinidad to participate in an international pay-per-view,” he said. He added that the MMA is now bigger than the National Football League, considering that U.S. MMA promotion company, Ultimate Fighting Championship, was bought by talent and entertainment agency WME-IMG for $4.2 billion U.S.
He said that MMA has become a viable option for this country's international representation and that it is the only sport that could “rival football.”
Surfing coach at Rough House, Andre Stewart, said athletes could use MMA training to help them with any sport. “If I am into football, I could train here. If I am into golf, I could practice MMA to strengthen my hands. I could strengthen my legs, you know. It’s a variety of exercises they’re doing here,” he said. When asked about the future of MMA in Trinidad and Tobago, Stewart said the art of MMA is in “amazing” hands.