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Jamaica Combat Federation

April Issue:

History of Mixed Martial Arts Mixed Martial Arts in Jamaica: Radcliffe Cunningham Damil Leads Team MMA and the youths MMA and brand Jamaica Upcoming events

History and Evolution; For years, one of the liveliest speculations by combat sport fans revolved around whether an expert in one particular discipline (e.g., boxing) would “win a real fight” against an expert in another discipline (e.g., wrestling). Obviously, a trained boxer would defeat a trained wrestler in a boxing match. Similarly, a trained wrestler would undoubtedly defeat a trained boxer in a wrestling match. For many, however, the intriguing question was: what if a boxer and a wrestler (or a karate master, a sumo, a judoka, etc.) simply fought, with few or no rules? Who would win? From the late nineteenth and throughout the twentieth century exhibition bouts between boxers, wrestlers, and other martial artists had occurred (most notoriously Muhammad Ali versus Japanese professional wrestler Antonio Inoki). Because the contests often involved at least one participant who routinely participated in “professional” (i.e., scripted) wrestling matches,few considered the outcomes of those infrequent bouts as credible answers to the question of combat discipline supremacy. The UFC organization was formed in America to specifically answer that question. Not coincidentally, one of the UFC co- founders— Rorion Gracie—felt quietly confident he had the answer. Rorion was a member of a Brazilian family—the Gracies—who had spent decades practicing a little-known (to Americans) martial art named “Brazilian jiujitsu” (“BJJ”). BJJ was (and is) a “submission” discipline. Its practitioners use positioning and body weak points neck, shoulder, arm, knee, ankle) to pull opponents to the ground and then subdue them with a seriesof chokes, holds, and cranks. In Brazil, the Gracie family had over many years participated in a series of formal and informal challenges with various fighters in no-rules or minimal-rules bouts and concluded that an experienced BJJ fighter would likely defeat the practitioner of a different combat discipline. With two American executives, Art Davie and Robert Meyrowitz, orion Gracie agreed to stage and promote a true combat tournament, with masters of different disciplines competing. Rorion’s intent was to include a Gracie BJJ expert, who Rorion expected to win, and thus gain worldwide renown for BJJ and the Gracie schools that taught it.That tournament, which brought together eight fighters for a one-night tournament with a prize of $50,000, was called simply “the Ultimate Fighting Championship,” and it occurred in most famously a mid-century match in Brazil between Helio Gracie and judo legend Masahiko Kimura. Kimura—for whom today’s kimura submission hold of the shoulder is named—prevailed. But, owing to the infrequency or obscurity of legitimate bout results, the question of Denver, Colorado, on legitimate contests, and which were part of his wrestling act.” ).There certainly were contests that were legitimate,which martial art was supreme remained,for virtually all American fans, an open question.


Ultimate Fight Championship (UFC) Fighters


Mixed Martial Arts Fighters in Jamaica:

Introducing: Radccliffe (Damij) Cunningham;


Introduction: MMA Mixed Martial Arts is a very big sport in a lot of countries but barely recognized by some people here in Jamaica. But that did not stop Damij from being a born fighter. It was the middle 1980s when the sun smiled on the earth it with Radcliff Cunningham. He grew up in the area of Harbour View and Caribbean Terrace in Kingston, Jamaica with an extended family around for good support. He attended the Jamaica College 1996-1998 then the Donald Quarrie 1998-2001; he also attended the Caribbean Maritime Institute, however was unable to finish his course due to family difficulties following hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Martial Arts Radcliff also known as Damij (Damage) started to focus on Martial Arts around 1994 at the Little Dragon Karate Club which saw him achieving a black belt there in 1998. While growing up his father was a fan of the largest production company in Hong Kong; Shaw Brothers Studio Company limited. They produced movies such as; Silver Fox, Flying Daggers, Chinese Assassins and many more. He would take Damij to the theatre each Saturday to watch a new release, this build Damij interest even more in the fighting arts. While studying martial arts at Little Dragon, he realized he wasn’t able to learn all those fancy stuff like weaponry and animal styles he saw in the movies done by Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee amongst others Damij was disappointed.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Damij has competed in numerous martial arts championships where he would clean win his division effortlessly were frequently awarded for the most outstanding performances. He was not able to compete in the weapons division as this was limited to adults’ level. One memorable day he went to a martial arts extravaganza and was pleased to see Chinese Martial Arts demonstrations led by Sifu Troy Gonslaves, founder of Wing Lung MMA Jamaica. Seeing this in real life was beyond exciting and of course immediately Damij wanted to join which he did the following Monday. That was the same year he received his black belt. Joining the school saw Damij experiencing new elements of the sport; he learned Chinese Boxing, Chinese weaponry, Combat Submission Wrestling, Lion Dance and MMA. This was a lot for a eight year old but he loved it and wanted nothing else.


Radcliffe Cunningham better known by his fight name Damij (damage) has been training in Sanshou (pronounced Sanda) Chinese Boxing and Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW) under the tutelage of Sifu Matthew Auld founder of Iron Lotus Academy of Martial Arts (ILAMA) for more than a decade. ILAMA is located at the Chinese Benevolent Association, 176 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6. Most of you may be familiar with the Chinese Benevolent due to the prominent TV boxing series THE CONTENDER. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), is not new to the sporting arena nor to Jamaica but not everyone knows about the difference between Martial Arts and MMA. Damij knew the difference from a tender age and once he saw that he was not learning what he saw in famous Bruce Lee movies he longed for something else. Destiny brought him to ILAMA and since then he has not left. This goes to show he is a well-focused individual who knows what he wants and this has led him to be an instructor and fighter of class and value.


Radcliffe performance at local competitions has gained the interest of international fight entities within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the United States and Europe. This attention led to a team of three being chosen to compete against other countries at the Massacre V, a Caribbean fight league scheduled to be held on April 16th-21st, 2014 in Barbados. The team of three is none other than Radcliffe “Damij” Cunningham, Shanice “Chrianna” Blake and Jovan “Jov” Gayle. Other members of the team are Timothy Kitson, Kyle Chin, Simon Samuel and Ambrose Brandon. Damij at 134lbs will be going up against Stephan White of Trinidad in the Bantamweight division, a higher class than his weight due to the circumstance of his opponent forfeiting the fight. MMA is a the fastest growing sport in the world at present and Jamaica has produced veterans such as Uriah Hall- UFC Champion, Denniston Sutherland- Europian Champion and holder of 8 MMA titles, Cleon Bardowell- ICW Champion among other great names you will be getting use to as Jamaican MMA grows. Team Jamaica is sponsored by Puma Jamaica, Owah Fashions, Fetish and Fantasy and publicity entity Tamoy ENT. The fight card will soon be up for public view on



The youths of Jamaica will benefit greatly from the introduction of a local Mixed Martial Arts brand. Firstly, it will generate interest in a new sport which requires discipline, determination and hard work to become successful. It will also serve as an outlet for teens that need guidance and mentors, as martial arts requires loyalty and promotes honesty and fairness but also humility, characteristics that are necessary to become a productive member of the Jamaican society. The Sport will produce a new breed of champions which the youths of Jamaica can look up to and aspire to be like. It will provide alternative career opportunities for talented fighters as the MMA world expands globally. There are leagues and championships across the world but Jamaica is yet to be represented fully on the international market.


MMA and Brand Jamaica

Just as our Jamaican track and field Athletes are doing us proud on the international scene, and placing Jamaica on top of the Track and field arena, there is a need to focus on building other sports.


MMA is extremely popular in the United States, with MMA fighters becoming crossover movie stars; the sport is big in South America with many top fighters coming out of Brazil and other Latin American countries. The sport is huge in Japan, a country our Jamaican culture has found a lot of favour with; whose people can’t seem to get enough of all things. MMA is also big in Europe with many leagues and fighters. In the Caribbean; Aruba, Barbados, Curacao, Cayman, and Trinidad has their own leagues, so there is potential for a Caribbean championship.

MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world this we repeat for emphasis, and has exploded in other mainstream markets in the last few years because of the exposure it has. Fighting is in our DNA and it's something everyone from every culture can relate to and understand. Unlike mainstream sports, few rules need to be explained to the average person in MMA. Fighting is what it is: two people facing off in a battle of wills. The MMA craze began with The Ultimate Fighter, now one of the most popular shows on cable TV since its debut in 2005 Upcoming Events: despite being on Spike TV, a network that was irrelevant until The Ultimate Fighter grabbed pools of male viewers. A fact to be made known, sports bars such as the popular Cuddyz and Tracks & Records are filled to capacity with patrons wanting to see the latest UFC fights, so just as the popularity of the Contender series and boxing have skyrocketed on the local scene so will a local MMA competition once it receives the right amount of exposure and sponsorship. MMA fights are more action packed with the various striking, throwing and wrestling techniques that are involved in the sport. Jamaicans love a good fight!




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