LAHAINA - The Senior World Grappling, Pankration & Amateur MMA World Championships were held in Krakow, Poland, on Nov. 15-18 by FILA, the organization that governs fighting sports and Olympic wrestling. Five continents with a total of 23 countries were represented.
Lahainaluna High School graduate Samalia Berger-Mata'afa won the female amateur MMA World Championship title at 71 kilograms (156 pounds).
"I competed for the American Samoan team, of which I was the only team member there. My title, however, was the first for the Oceania Region - for male and female - which includes other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Micronesia, etc.," she noted.
Samalia Berger-Mata‘afa (center) receives her Amateur MMA World Championship title.
Although Berger-Mata'afa competes on the American Samoan National Team, she lives and trains here in Hawaii.
She was one of the first female wrestlers in the State of Hawaii, competing mainly with boys, and won a state wrestling championship at the inaugural year of the Female State Championships at 140 pounds for Lahainaluna.
"I also wrestle for American Samoa, and this past year I tried to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London, placing fifth in our Africa/Oceania Olympic Qualifier, where the top two placers earned Olympic berths," she explained.
"I train and compete here in Hawaii in the sport of MMA. I have trained with Chris Leben at his Fight School and also at the BJ Penn UFC gym and the HI-Flyers Wrestling Club. My amateur MMA record is 4-0."
Berger-Mata'afa was also selected to compete for American Samoa at the FILA North-American Invitational in an eight-person tournament for the 135-pound female title.
This event will be held in New York in conjunction with the fourth annual World MMA Expo on the weekend of Feb. 15-17, 2013.