UFC fighter Shane Young takes Te Reo to the world

By Tamati Tiananga

Shane Young has returned home after securing a 'Fight of the Night' bonus victory at UFC Fight Night last weekend in Singapore. The youngster stole the show not only with his fighting talent but an impassioned victory speech delivered in the language of his people, in Te Reo Māori.

He holds the late Sir James Henare's comments, the language is the core of our Māori culture and mana close to his heart 

UFC fighter Shane Young says, “I’d see images of us fighting and it wouldn’t be in the cage, it would be like in the ditch or in the grass. I'd randomly see a māori warrior with a patu- baton club and not with a UFC glove.”

The Māori Language has been at the forefront of his preparations for the Singapore fight.  

During the weigh-in, Young expressed himself to his opponent - Filipino Rolando Dy with a pukana - facial expressions.

“I was like don’t dear disrespect my language, this is a challenge.”     

Young made history become the first NZ fighter to speak Te Reo Māori in the octagon after his first win in the UFC.  

“Ka tangi te titi, ka tangi te kaka, ka tangi hoki ko au - Which is the mutton bird calls, the Kaka calls, I call also and my understanding of that is a call to action. I am calling the spirits around me because I am waking them. Tihei Mauri Ora - behold the sneeze of life or the breath of life.”  

He also picked up the Fight of the Night - fight bonus purse worth 50 thousand American. The prize came at a good time, with the young fighter in need of financial support in the lead up to fight night.       

“I had to borrow $40 to get gas to go to the airport.”

Shane Young hopes to be a role model for future fighters in MMA Arena. The fighter from the small suburb of Maraenui in Napier will travel to his hometown this weekend to join in on celebrations of his win last weekend in Singapore with friends and whānau.