Ngāti Kahungunu fighter, UFC featherweight Shane Young will use his second UFC match-up against Rolando Dy in Singapore to showcase his māori heritage.
The 24-year-old from the suburb of Maranui in Napier says since learning Te Reo Māori he has found a new love for his māori heritage and aims to become the first UFC fighter to speak māori during post-fight interviews in the octagon.
His reasons for flying the Māori Flag - Tino Rangatiratanga, is to encourage more māori fighters in MMA, to strive for success with a māori outlook.
Young says, “There’s two main reasons, there’s reasons for myself and the fight, and then there’s reasons for my family and people watching the fight. For me and myself recently in the last year especially with my new girlfriend, she has reintroduced me to my māori side that I pushed away for the most of my life.”
Young is still a learner the māori language, he and partner Tayla Rose Marriner have decided to learn together.
Young adds, “In terms of the scale of things that I’ve done in the world it would be crazy to be the first person to carry a māori flag into battle and also when I win the fight I want to be the first person to speak māori on the UFC camera’s.”
He will face Rolando Dy on June 23rd. He says as a youngster he never imagined being a fighter.
“I think it will be really dope (amazing) to have māori people to look up to.”
In the coming weeks, he will send a request to UFC asking permission to fly the Tino Rangatiratanga Flag in the UFC Octagon.