MMA vs tai chi fight interrupted by police, ends before it could even begin

MMA vs tai chi fight interrupted by police, ends before it could even begin
PHOTO: YouTube screengrab

It was a highly-anticipated "group brawl" between exponents of two differing martial art styles which didn't materialise.

A fight between a team led by mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Xu Xiaodong and four tai chi experts led by master Ma Baoguo ended before it could even begin, after police disrupted the match held in Shanghai.

An unnamed spokesperson is seen on video stating that the group fight had to be stopped as the venue was not licensed to hold the event. 

The match, set for 3pm on Monday (June 26), was supposed to settle a long-running argument over the merits of the two fighting disciplines, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

But as the event got underway, the lights were cut before police raided the venue.

Police were later seen leading Xu away from the venue, as the Beijing-based MMA gym-owner continued to plead for the fight to be adjourned to a private venue without media present.

According to a separate SCMP report, Xu later alleged on social media that his main opponent Ma had asked his nephew to call the police, effectively "sabotaging" the event.

He stated that June 26 had become "a day of shame for martial arts" and also dared Ma to sue him if his allegations were unfounded.

Debate between the two camps had escalated after a clip of a fight between Xu and tai chi 'master' Wei Lei went viral.

The humiliating 10-second takedown of Wei by the MMA fighter and his proclamation that traditional martial arts is a "farce" caused an uproar among martial arts circles and the Chinese public.

The debacle also prompted a Chinese tycoon to offer 10 million yuan (S$2 million) to the traditional tai chi fighter who can defeat Xu.

According to a Beijing Time report, Xu said he is considering arranging a behind-closed-doors fight in the coming days for release on video.

candicec@sph.com.sg

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