Wearing thick-rimmed glasses, a slim-fit T-shirt and bermuda shorts, he does not seem like a man tied to the world’s biggest mixed martial arts organisation.
After securing his first win in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) at Marina Bay Sands on Jan 4 (Sat), Wee himself sounds uncomfortable at being tagged alongside others who relish the brutality of the sport.
“I’m not one of those aggressive guys who get so pumped up before a fight and go crazy inside the cage, I’m actually a gentle guy,” said the 27-year-old, who signed a multi-fight contract with the UFC before his victory at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
“But now that I’m with the UFC, I see it differently. It’s just business. We train hard, and when we enter the cage, we have to do our job.”
And it was this pragmatic approach that the Impact MMA coach used to defeat Filipino Dave “The Scarecrow” Galera on Jan 4, 2014.
After analysing all five of Galera’s victories, Wee and his cohorts devised a strategy to neutralise his taller, fitter and more experienced opponent, who holds the Philippines-based Universal Reality Combat Championship bantamweight title.
“We knew he had more stamina, a longer reach and was also a good submission artist,” said Wee, whose 2-0 record meant he entered the Octagon as the underdog.
“Our plan was to get him on the ground and on his back so he couldn’t submit me, and engage him in a ground-and-pound fight. It may be boring but everything I did was calculated.”
“I got into quite a few fights when I was in school,” said Wee, whose parents divorced when he was a few months old.
“I was young and hot-headed but MMA changed all that. It made me humble and taught me about respect.”
And that is exactly the legacy he hopes to leave behind as Singapore’s first UFC fighter.
“I hope my win will convince more people to learn about the sport and look past the violence,” said Wee. “More than anything, MMA made me a better person.”
Koh Kok Kwang, his manager, said: “We recruited Roy when he was 23 and fresh out of the army. It’s really pleasing to see how much he has grown as a person.”
Wee, who has a marketing and management degree from Murdoch University, hopes to fight at least once more this year.
That could mean an appearance on a show in the United States or another fight in Asia but nothing has been finalised yet.
He added: “I know people will look at me more now after my win but nothing will change. I’m just going to work harder and keep getting better. It’s my job.”
By Chua Siang Yee, The Straits Times (Jan 08, 2014)
Photos courtesy of The Straits Times