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Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in Singapore

 A Photo Essay with the new Leica T Camera

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is without doubt, the fastest growing sport in the world, and most certainly in Asia. A full contact fight sport combining striking, wrestling and grappling, MMA is the epitomy of physical one-on-one competition. Fight leagues and gyms are sprouting across Asia as more fans watch and aspiring fighters put on gloves. The premier league in Asia is Singapore-founded and headquartered ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC). ONE FC is now also the 2nd largest mma organisation in the world behind America’s Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC). UFC has also recently set up its Asia Headquarters in Singapore and held it’s first fight event in the country last year.

I have always been a fan of MMA. There are parallels in the art and its practice in both visual and martial arts that attracts me. And the personal, competitive spirit is likewise an addiction I find affinity with and appreciation for. But alas, age betrays me and any meaningful attempt I may dream of as a competitive fighter. So the next best thing is to participate as an engaged spectator, with a camera.

I decided to ‘spectate’ at Fight G MMA Academy, Singapore’s first MMA Gym founded by Muay Thai and Sanshou expert Darren “Senz” de Silva. Occupying an unassuming shophouse space at North Canal Road in Singapore, Fight G looks, feels and smells like an underdog (just the way I like it). Under Senz’s lead coaching, they offer leisure courses as well as train a small stable of fighters who compete in the regional circuit. Senz was born into a family of accomplished boxing veterans in Singapore. Aside from running his Academy, he travels regionally offering MMA and coaching consultancy.

Brad ‘Vanilla Gorilla’ Robinson is one of the fighters training for a rematch with Malaysia-based Nik Harris at the ONE Fighting Championship in Singapore on 30th May. Outside of MMA, Brad is a TV presenter at Cinemax and runs his own fitness gym ‘Ritual’. Brad previously beat Nik via decision in 2012. Myanmar-born Zay Yar Oo is one of Fight G’s Muay Thai instructors and holds a full-time job as a computer programmer. A match for Zay Yar at the Borneo Fighting Championship (BFC) in Malaysia is expected in the near future.

Photographs & Text: © Kevin WY Lee | Website:

Photographs taken with the Leica T Camera.

These photographs are the beginnings of my MMA spectatorship in Asia. They were taken with the new Leica T mirror-less camera coupled with the Leica T Summicron 23mm F/2.0 ASPH lens. The Leica T sports an APS-C sensor so 23mm translates to a 35mm prime, just the way I like it. The guys at Leica Asia Pacific called me a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to try their new interchangeable lens camera. Having used Leica Ms extensively and favorably in the past, I was curious and immediately intrigued particularly by the idea of any new interchangeable system Leica had to offer. As far as I knew, Leica has only ever had an M-mount system in the last few decades, and the LTM system in the early years.

Colour Photography with the Leica T: Singapore Hues: Colour Photography with the new Leica T Camera

For more information and full specs, visit Official Leica T System Website.




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