When Haresh Deol, editor and co-founder of Twentytwo13, mooted the idea of wanting to go up against a professional mixed martial arts fighter to raise funds for charity several months ago, we at Twentytwo13 embraced the idea almost immediately.
Some initially thought Haresh and the motely team at Twentytwo13 were ‘crazy’ given the fact that Haresh has never fought before.
But we took up the challenge of changing people’s perspectives in our quest to raise funds for the National Press Club Malaysia’s (NPC) Journalist Welfare Fund and the Malaysia Mixed Martial Arts Association (MASMMAA) youth development programme.
The media industry in Malaysia has been in major decline, especially this year, with news organisations shutting down and downsizing, forcing many talented and experienced journalists, editors, sub-editors, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, illustrators and even advertisement sales executives out of jobs.
Mixed martial arts has often been portrayed as a ‘bloody’ and ‘gory’ sport. Yet, at the amateur level, MMA is just like any other combat sport.
With the welfare of media practitioners in mind and to change people’s perception of MMA, Twentytwo13 and MASMMAA embarked on a mission to bring about change in our own way.
It has been an interesting five months since we mooted the idea of this epic battle that will see several fights leading to the caged encounter between Haresh, 37, and professional fighter Shareh ‘The Jeneral’ Nasrullah, 29, of Lekir Fitness & MMA Academy. Haresh is also NPC deputy president.
Leaning on the words of advertising veteran Rob Siltanen which goes ‘Those crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do’ as motivation, the organising team worked hard to ensure the Nov 23 event will be a catalyst for change.
We would like to record our heartiest appreciation to Fight For Change 2019 gold sponsor YTL Group and silver sponsor AirAsia for believing in our cause.
To other sponsors – Francis Yew, Rantau Golin, Amnig, KT Tape, Surian Cards Printing, Media247, F&N Beverages, Global Oak Tree Scholars and Asiana Global Media – we wish to thank you for your kindness that will go a long way.
To our friends within and outside the media fraternity who have purchased tickets to watch the fight this weekend, we would like to thank you for your contribution in joining us on this quest to fight for change.
We admit the money raised will not be substantial but we intend to drum in the much needed noise about the welfare of journalists in the country and hope there will be more initiatives in the future. If we don’t help our own brothers and sisters in the industry, who else will?
Having witnessed Haresh trade his pen for a pair of MMA gloves, training hard (as his opponent is nine years younger than him) has been inspiring and a humbling experience for the Twentytwo13 team.
When Haresh and I co-founded Twentytwo13 slightly over a year ago, we wanted this news website to be a catalyst of change – one that will prioritise people’s perspectives as we challenge the norms and break boundaries in our own way by leaving lasting impressions.
We hope Fight For Change 2019 will live up to this dream of ours – to spur a bigger change for the media industry, the sporting community and society as a whole.
There will be several fights and demonstrations leading to up to the clash between Haresh and Shareh.
We look forward to meeting all of you tomorrow, from 5pm onwards, at Cobra Rugby Club in Petaling Jaya.