Immediately after knocking out opponent Jason Louch in 2 minutes and 30 seconds of the first round, Kachin fighter Aung La N Sang held up the Kachin national flag in the boxing ring and pledged to donate a part of his purse winnings to the war refugees of his northern Burmese homeland.
Nicknamed the “Burmese Python,” Aung La N Sang might be Burma’s greatest hope of international sporting glory after a London Olympics where the country was minimally represented and won no medals.
Before the fight at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover, Delaware, the Kachin cage-fighter had been interviewed on US TV. Speaking fluent US-accented English, Aung La N Sang, who now lives in Maryland, predicted to viewers that he would win the main bout of Saturday’s CFFC fight with a right-hand knockout in the first round. And that was exactly was happened after he pummeled Louch with a series of head shots early in the contest.
CFFC, or Cage Fury Fighting Championships, is a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) league, arguably the second most watched MMA championship in the world after the universally popular Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC. MMA has minimal rules and combines the fury of boxing with judo, taekwondo, Greco-Roman wrestling, kick-boxing and jujitsu. Although it is not yet an Olympic event, MMA enjoys huge popularity as a live sport and as a TV-hosted championship. It has a huge following in the USA and around the world, and has attracted mass advertising.
Aung La N Sang came into Saturday’s welterweight bout with a 13-8 record in the CFFC, while Louch, his opponent, held an equally impressive 15-10. Two years younger than the American, the 27-year-old Kachin represents the Team Crazy 88 camp in his adopted hometown of Maryland.
Aung La N Sang’s win edges him one step closer to a fight with George Sullivan, the current CFFC welterweight champion.
On his website, Aung La N Sang says: “I am a Kachin and I cannot keep reading about the dire situation of my people and do nothing. I know I am just an [MMA] fighter, and not a politician or a person of power. I have also never been interested in politics, because thinking about politics in the context of Myanmar [Burma] makes me feel so helpless. As a kid growing up in Myanmar, I have witnessed firsthand the injustice and the inequality of the ruling military junta. In addition, I have lost two paternal uncles to the Burmese military. But let’s face it. This is no politics. There are people who are desperate for help and their cries simply cannot be ignored.
“Therefore, I dedicate my next fight on October 13th to my people, the Kachin. A portion of my prize money along with the money from my sponsors and tickets sales will be sent to the Kachin refugees. I know I cannot solve the problem but this is my way of saying to my people, who are suffering, that I heard their cries.”