MMA Hero Calls for ‘United’ Spirit to Beat Civil War

By Tin Htet Paing 10 October 2016

RANGOON — Kachin cage fighter Aung La N Sang—known as “the Burmese Python”—told crowds celebrating his victory on Friday night that a “united” spirit was needed to stop civil war in his native Kachin State.

The ethnic Kachin mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter defeated his Polish opponent Michael Pasternak in the One Championship State of Warriors event at Rangoon’s Thuwunna Stadium on Oct. 7.

“Anything can be achieved if we, the Burmese people, are united,” he said after the judges’ decision was announced, urging citizens to work together to stop the country’s civil war.

The event took place at the end of a week that saw thousands of Kachin locals protest in the Kachin State capital of Myitkyina, calling on the Burma Army to stop military offenses in the area.

The two MMA fighters exchanged blows in a full three-round middleweight match. Amid intense pressure from an energetic home crowd, Aung La N Sang delivered multiple neck chokes and deft body strikes against an opponent who appeared fatigued by the second round.

The three judges gave a unanimous decision that Aung La N Sang should take the prize against Pasternak, bringing the Kachin fighter’s record to 19 wins and nine losses over his MMA career.

In his victory speech, Aung La N Sang told a crowd of thousands that he wants to win the world championship title for Burma.

The 31-year old received political asylum in the United States in 2003 and trained to become an MMA fighter at Maryland’s Crazy 88 gym. On Friday he delivered his second hometown victory after defeating Egypt’s Mohamed Ali in another One Championship event last March.

Although a US citizen, Aung La N Sang tweeted on Sunday that he felt proud to represent Burma in the MMA profession.

“It’s an honor to be able to represent my country and the Kachin people,” he tweeted. “I am hungry and I will be back stronger.”