Archive for the Sports Category

UFC 139: Cung Le Makes UFC Debut Against Wanderlei Silva

Posted in Politics, Sports with tags , , , , , , on November 19, 2011 by Ian Pham

So, this does not have much to do with politics in Vietnam, but I am such a big fan of Cung Le that I just could’t resist.  Hours from now (the countdown has begun), Cung Le will be making his UFC debut against Wanderlei Silva in UFC 139.  Cung Le and Wanderlei Silva will be the co-headliners of the night, while Shogun vs Hendo will be the night’s main event.  Much respect to Shogun and Hendo, we know their fight will be epic, though I am still looking forward to the co-main event, just a little more.

Cung Le made his MMA debut in Strikeforce in 2005, going undefeated for five matches, before defeating Frank Shamrock for the middle-weight title in 2008.  The only loss that he ever received in MMA came in 2009 against Scott Smith, a loss that Cung Le later redeemed in 2010, when he won in the rematch.  In 2007, Cung Le fought in the Shan Shou tournament, defeating Na Shun of China, and winning the fight for team USA.

Like many of the Vietnamese in North America, Le and his mother were refugees from the former South Vietnam, fled the country in the wake of the Communist takeover.  As a Vietnamese kid in the U.S., Cung Le was discriminated against and bullied by his peers.  For these reasons, he started training in martial arts, becoming extremely good, extremely quickly.  Cung Le picked up on wrestling in junior high, got more involved in martial as he got older, and well, the rest is history.

When I said earlier that this article has nothing to do with politics in Vietnam, I lied.  Cung Le’s fighting shorts are decorated with a golden stripe, with red stripes down the sides, clearly signifying his connection to the former Republic of Vietnam, and his pride in his Vietnamese roots.  The MMA champ sports these colors every time he steps into the ring.  In all of his Strikeforce bouts, waves of golden flags can be seen through his fans in the stands, it is quite a beautiful sight.

Wanderlei Silva will be a formidable opponent, reigning as the undefeated champ in Pride for the longest time (18-0, 2001-2007).  Even so, Cung Le is also a formidable adversary, with a unique style that most other fighters are not used to seeing.  He has been labelled as one of the most dynamic fighters in MMA, with a kick that no one could match.   He’s going to kick Silva’s ass, that’s the only point in trying to make.  Less than 6 hours left, see you at the fight.