Looking back to fifteen years ago, it was quite difficult to find a friend to talk to or even ask about a combative sport show that is MMA. At work, hang out spot, or even at a few gym, most of them could only shake their head saying, ‘What’s MMA?’. But now –15 years after the first MMA event was introduced by TPI – now MNC TV, almost anyone would talk with so much enthusiasm. They are familiar with the names of the old champions of MMA like Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, to the recent ones like Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman, Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov to Ronda Rousey –the female bantamweight UFC champion whom just very recently got knocked out by Holly Holms. MMA simply turns into the next big thing in Indonesian martial arts sport and self-defense. If it was difficult to find any place for MMA practice, it is not anymore. Almost every gym there are offer MMA classes, either for lifestyle or for serious training. Not only in Jakarta, but also everywhere in big cities such as Bandung, Semarang, Jogja, Solo, Malang, Surabaya and also Bali and Kalimantan.
Talking about Indonesian MMA, TPI Fighting Championship (a.k.a TPIFC, a.k.a TFC) would also easily come to mind – Indonesian own MMA Championship, first aired on TPI in June 2002. TPIFC alone is also a continuation of other events of that kind’s introduction, like Pride Fighting Championship and K1 on the same TV station. After TPIFC, came another MMA event named DUEL. A bit different from the first one, DUEL which was hosted by RCTI – another TV station, seemed to be setting a limit for ground fighting, with its only 30 seconds ground game rule. TPIFC was last seen in January 2005 with its second Grand Tournament series which confirmed Fransino Tirta (16-0) as the champion after defeating Gunawan Wijaya in the grand finals. The first Grand Tournament series’ champion was Linson Simanjuntak – who had the chance to fight in Japan following his partner in BEST Pride event, Aji Susilo – fighting there not longer than a year before. A lot of other good fighters were born from TPIFC. Zuli Silawanto, Johan Mulia Legowo, Ngabdi Muliadi, you name it. After TPIFC ended (and also DUEL –disappearing just like that because of problems with the spectators) Indonesian MMA world faced a hibernation phase. Being able to watch Tirta fighting against Dai Shuang Hai on the Art of War 8 event (22/9/2007) was even considered lucky enough. Battle on Bali, Tirta fought Andreas Hesselback (27/12/2007). And then we had the 12th AOW Series that again brought Fransino took on Malik Arash, in May 2009. Two years later we all witnessed Tirta fighting against a Chinese athlete at one of the Legend FC events.
Did our MMA world really ‘sleep’ through 2005-2015? Not really! There are BFC in Bandung and Lindu Aji in Semarang which are still consistently holding MMA events.
Watch TPIFC videoshere.