Kahungunu fighter proudly carries Māori culture into UFC Octagon
A first for the UFC saw a Ngāti Kahungunu fighter carrying the Tino Rangatiratanga flag, and te reo Māori, into the Octagon.
Shane Young won with a second-round TKO over Filipino Rolando Dy in Singapore, and while notching the win was a highlight, he also says that putting Māoridom and te reo on the international stage through his post-fight interview was just as significant.
“That's what I wanted. I wanted to say beautiful sounding words, and it actually meant something, and it had power to me, that I could recite in the whole week.”
The 24-year-old featherweight says reconnecting with his Māori culture plays a huge role in his career.
“Being half-caste looking pretty white but growing up Māori, my first language was te reo. I went to kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa, then I went to a bilingual school. Rekindling my Māoridom and finding myself, that’s where I’m at in terms of a fighter.”
Now, the aim for Young is to train hard to keep the body fit and strong.
“There are a couple shows in November and December and could possibly be fighting so I’ll definitely be fighting before this year's end and I’m going to smash it.”