I had the honour of interviewing, 1989 sportsgirl of the year, multiple sea games gold medalist, former Olympian, medical doctor and now MMA fighter May Ooi. It was surreal having a conversation with a lady who competed in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and just won her first competitive MMA fight via rear naked choke in round 3 at the age of 37 on Rebel FC 1 against Amy Adam from Australia who already had 3 pro fights under her belt.
At the Rebel FC trials. during a sparring session, May nearly broke a contestant’s arm with an armbar while wearing boxing gloves. She only trained for competitive MMA for a month. However prior to taking this fight, May have trained in Capoeira, Gracie Jiujitsu, (she actually didn’t want to train in Jiujitsu until she witnessed Royler Gracie performing at her gym in front of her eyes) Muay Thai and combined with her swimming experience and her surfing hobby, she is just built to kill.
On the afternoon before the fight, I had a conversation with May spurring her to win her fight by knockout. She replied and I quote,
And she did.
Her mom didn’t want to attend the event at first when she got to know her daughter is taking part in an MMA fight, however after much persuasion, her mom did come down to witness her fight and told her that she was just glad that her daughter is ok while checking her face for bruises.
May actually had a verbal agreement with Amy a few days after the fight to have a rematch at pro level, however there are no concrete plans as of yet. Amy thinks that May got lucky if she didn’t slip during the match while May is just stoked that she defeated a pro fighter in her very first fight.
On the question of the state of women’s MMA in Singapore, she feels that there isn’t a proper foundation for girls to be interested to fight competitively as one wrong move could make or break a girl’s interest to fight. However, I’m hoping that her representation of women’s MMA in Singapore at the age of 37 would be an inspiration and motivation for future talents to step up and make waves.
This article was first published in The Fight Scene.