Sherilyn Lim’s weigh-in failure a disaster for us: Singapore female MMA pro May Ooi

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Singapore’s newest female professional mixed martial artist (MMA), May Ooi, feels bad for her fellow fighter Sherilyn Lim.

The latter made MMA headlines last Friday when she exceeded the weight limit for her One Fighting Championship bout by over 2kg, leading to the cancellation of her much-anticipated rematch against Malaysia’s Ann Osman.

While Ooi views the entire debacle as unfortunate, the former Olympic swimmer remains concerned over the negative impact it might have on the credibility of local women’s MMA (WMMA).

“We are trying to build the image of WMMA in the country, promoting it and hoping to inspire more girls to take it up,” said the 37-year-old, who inked a one-year contract with local promotion Rebel Fighting Championship over the weekend.

“This incident was a bit of a disaster for the growth of WMMA in Singapore.”

Ooi also added she was “surprised” to hear the news, but believes Lim, 23, could have exercised some damage control to ease the controversy.

“She’s made weight before and there was ample time for her to cut weight,” Ooi told Yahoo. “I don’t have details, but if she was having a problem with the weight cut, then it would have helped to speak up earlier and give her opponent, as well as the organisation, more time to decide what to do.”

“I hope everything is ok with Sherilyn though.”


Having fought once before – in an amateur contest – Ooi sympathises with the difficulty behind cutting weight.

“It’s easy to lose control of emotions during the process. You get moody, cranky and tire very fast because you’re restricted in your diet and you’re training a lot,” she explained. “When I’m cutting weight, there’s a permanent cloud in my head and I can’t think properly at times.”

Fight G gym member Lim had cited “personal issues” in her inability to make weight.

Ooi also pointed out how it can be tougher for women to cut weight. “It’s a lot easier for guys, as we have more variables such as having hormones that can affect a lot of things. During our period, for example, we experience a lot of water retention," she said.

As for herself, Ooi, makes it a point to monitor her walk-around weight – around 58kg – closely every day.

She related how her debut in Rebel FC last year hit a snag when her scheduled opponent pulled out five days before the fight and the replacement, Amy Adams, was substantially heavier.

“We only had two to three days left by the time Amy agreed to come down and fight,” said Ooi, who competes at straw-weight (52kg). “She was 63kg and I had already cut to 55kg then. Hence we agreed to fight at 58kg.”

Ooi, who won the fight, added, “For me, two to three kilograms is not a big difference. I believe in the type of training I’ve been through.”

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With age and the highest level of athletic experience on her side, Ooi revealed that she hopes to someday develop and manage female MMA fighters in Singapore and throughout Asia.

And she promises to imbue the same professional attitude and dedication that saw her represent Singapore at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

“It’s not just about training but about having focus, taking care of your body, having the discipline to diet,” said Ooi.

“When you go pro, it’s not just about you. You have a responsibility towards your fans, spectators, coach, gym, organisation and country: you fight for all of them.”