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Justin Leong, center, is the CEO of mixed martial arts promoter Rebel Fighting Championship, a company he founded at 27 years of age. (Photo courtesy of Rebel Fighting Championship)
The Big Story

Defying censors, combat startup looks to crack Chinese market

Rebel Fighting Championship has an unusual growth strategy

DYLAN LOH, Nikkei staff writer | China

SINGAPORE -- While other families would file into church on Sundays, 12-year-old Justin Leong worshipped at the altar of weekend morning boxing matches. "And that was kind of our religion," recalled Leong. He and his mother would attend bouts in East London, afterward obsessively picking apart the fighters' strategies.

On a trip to Las Vegas in 2013, Leong stumbled on the spectacle of mixed martial arts. Within months, $2 million seed capital from his father in hand, the then-27-year-old entrepreneur had set up MMA sports entertainment company Rebel Fighting Championship in Singapore.

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