Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bleachers Brew #360 One FC to debut Women's MMA

This appears in the Monday September 16, 2013 edition of the Business Mirror

One FC to debut Women’s MMA
by rick olivares

With Women’s Mixed Martial Arts getting a huge boost when Ronda Rousey took on Liz Carmouche in UFC 157, Asia’s biggest MMA organization, One Fighting Championship, will do the same in this part of the world on October 18.

One of the five Malaysia versus Singapore matches of the One FC: Total Domination fight card on October 18 will feature the former’s Ann Osman go up against the latter’s Sherilyn Lim.

Sherilyn Lim will be representing Singapore’s oldest mixed martial arts gym, Fight G. She has been part of Fight G since 2007, when she joined their Muay Thai program and has been training under the tutelage of Singaporean MMA pioneer Darren De Silva. Sherilyn has quickly established herself as the best female mixed martial artist in Singapore and fight fans have been eagerly expecting her debut on the largest stage in Asian MMA. She will be looking to do the Republic proud on Asia's largest stage when she competes in front of the Singapore fans when One FC returns to its home country.

We caught up with Lim with two weeks before her One FC debut:
Sherilyn Lim
RO: Why did you choose MMA? Prior to MMA what were you doing? Was this always what you wanted to do? What was your ambition when you were younger?

SL: I didn't exactly "choose" it. The transition to MMA was gradual and natural transition from years of training in Muay Thai towards MMA. It seemed like the logical next step to take.

Prior to this I was in the advertising industry. When I was younger, I wanted to be a musician, a teacher, a lawyer and an army officer.

RO:  That’s very diverse. You mentioned you had a career in advertising -- were you in creatives or in accounts? What campaign are you most fond of? Sorry for that. I too am an advertising agency veteran. I had to ask.

SL: No problem. I was managing accounts. I had the opportunity to work with a mobile phone brand for the launch their new product. I think the most memorable time was the first time I had the chance to oversee a large scale outdoor installation and the rest of the campaign.

RO: Did anyone influence you -- a fighter or a coach - to take up MMA?

SL: No. It was a personal choice and the support that came along with has been helpful.

RO: What aspect of MMA is the toughest to get used to? Obviously, you are not afraid to get hit or hurt. Can you also share one more anecdote.

SL: For me it’s the grappling portion that is harder to grasp.

RO: How often do you train? Is a career in MMA in SE Asia good enough already to earn a living? When you are not fighting what do you do? Do you have a business or some other work?

SL: I train six days a week. For me it's not about the money so I don't really think about it that way. I read, watch different kinds of videos and look for new music. And of course, I take the time to be with family and friends. I hold a full-time job as the Operations Manager of Fight G so that keeps me very busy.

RO: A woman after my own heart. What music are you into? Singapore gets a lot of foreign artists, what was the last concert you attended?

SL: (laughs) I listen to almost everything ranging from classical music to rap to heavy metal. Unfortunately my last concert was in 2010 by Muse on Big Night Out. I am a busy girl.

Beethoven's ‘Piano Sonata No. 14 First Movement’ (commonly known as Moonlight Sonata), Lil Wayne's cover of ‘Rolling in the Deep’, Lynyrd Skynyrd's ‘Simple Man’ and Pantera's ‘F*** The World’, are just a few of my favorites.

RO: We’re close to wrapping this up. Briefly talk about your career as a MMA fighter so far?

SL: This would be my professional debut. Yes, I have competed before in an amateur league. Can't really say much about the toughest fight yet, maybe in due time I'll let you guys know!

RO: Heading into this fight this October, what are your thoughts about it?

SL: (laughs) To not get distracted by the lights and crowd and to go into the cage and do what I need to do.

RO: What has been the response to your career by your peers? Can you share an anecdote?

SL: They have been very supportive and happy for me, and accommodating to my tight schedule. A close friend of mine actually cooked and brought food for me - how sweet is that?

RO: Aren't you worried that you could get really hurt? It looks like you could have a career in modeling if you wish.

SL: Well… you could stay on the sidewalk all your life and not get hurt. Or live your life to the fullest. Of course, stay on the sidewalk when needed.

Lim’s opponent, Ann Osman, fights out of Borneo Tribal Squad in Kota Kinabalu. She will be the first female mixed martial artist to represent Malaysia in Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organization. Hailing from the same gym of One FC featherweight standout AJ Lias Mansor, Osman brings a relentless will to win and will be looking to emerge with her hands raised.

RO: Why get into MMA? Prior to MMA what were you doing?

AO: I have always been an adrenaline junkie, always out and about doing outdoor sports on the weekends such as sea kayaking, white water rafting and mountain biking. I happened to see AJ (Lias Mansor) training some guys in the gym so I decided why not? I loved it from the first time I joined training.

RO: Was MMA always what you wanted to do? What were your dreams in your younger days?

AO: Back in my years growing up, MMA wasn’t even heard of so I wouldn’t say it was something I knew I would do when I’m older. However I was always active in sports back then. I went to boarding school and was in science stream, so naturally I chose an ambition along those lines (ie, doctor, scientist). But as it turns out, I made a different path.

RO: Did anyone influence you to take up MMA?

AO: My coach AJ Pyro was the one who influenced me the most to take up the sport. He was always encouraging us and believed that we can go big if we were dedicated and willing to put in the hardwork.

RO: How often do you train? Is a career in  MMA in SE Asia good enough already to earn a living? When you are not fighting what do you do? Do you have a business or some other work?

AO: I train at least once every day but to prepare for my upcoming ONE FC fight, it’s now twice day and sometimes more!

As for the MMA scene in Southeast Asia, it is definitely growing and with an organization such as ONE Fighting Championship, I would say it is growing at a rapid pace. You see more MMA gym businesses opening up which I suppose provides more opportunities.

Besides training and assisting the coach in the gym, I also have a day job in the property industry.

RO: Can you talk about your career as a MMA fighter so far? Have you fought before? What was your toughest fight and why?

AO: I am now transitioning from competing in amateur competitions to pro MMA.  I’m making my Pro-MMA debut at ONE FC’s Total Domination bout on Oct 18th.  Every competition and every fight is challenging  - they are all tough, but I try my best go in well prepared.

RO: Heading into this fight this October, what are your thoughts about it?

AO: My only thoughts are, ‘Do a hell of job in training and you’ll do a hell of a job in the fight’!

RO: What has been the response to your career by your peers? Can you share an anecdote?

AO: While I have told my family and friends, and they have been very supportive.

RO: Aren’t you worried that you could get really hurt? It looks like you could have a career in modeling if you wish.

AO: What’s a fighter without bruises and cuts? Should I ever be a model, I want to be the bad-ass looking model ever… but when in doubt, there’s always make-up!

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