When DR ALAN CHEUNG isn’t reconstructing torn ACLs, repairing menisci or fixing unstable shoulders for his patients at International Orthopaedic Clinic in Singapore, you’ll likely find him throwing some punches at Evolve MMA (mixed martial arts) – or at least watching ringside, ready to help with any injuries that arise! Here’s how MMA transformed this orthopaedic surgeon’s life, and how he brings his love for the sport into his practice.
The British surgeon discovered a passion for the sport while grieving the 2017 death of his father. “I was naturally devastated, and I had low mood and energy as a result,” he says.
Dr Cheung soon learned that, by taking up Muay Thai – a striking martial art and the national sport of Thailand – and the ground-fighting martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he was able to turn his negativity into positivity through physical exercise.
“Joining Evolve MMA was exactly the right move for me,” he says. “Training under World Champion Instructors enabled me to clear my mind of all pessimistic thoughts, and emerge exhilarated and reenergised after each strenuous training session.”
As time progressed, he was able to take part in several competitions in Singapore and in Japan. Dr Cheung adds that he found himself becoming more confident and humble, with an improved ability to focus and ignore distractions.
“Training in MMA changed my life. It has made me fitter, stronger and a better surgeon and human being.”
An added bonus has been the fact that training at Evolve MMA has led to many friendships and some unique opportunities, such as working for One Championship – the leading mixed martial arts franchise in Asia – as a Ringside Doctor.
So, in addition to treating sports injuries and performing robotic joint replacement procedures in his orthopaedic clinic, Dr Cheung began looking after elite and world champion martial artists in and out of the ring, too. “It was extremely satisfying to combine my professional skills as an orthopaedic surgeon and my passion for martial arts, and be inches away from the action in the ring.”
In fact, many of the skills he’s used as a ringside doctor were developed on the rugby pitch. A former rugby player himself, Dr Cheung is also a World Rugby Medical Educator, covering local and international rugby events as a pitch-side doctor. And, as if that’s not keeping him busy enough, this orthopaedic surgeon is also the Team Doctor for the Wrestling Federation of Singapore!
“Nothing pleases me more than to use my expertise to help sportsmen and women recover from their injuries, and get back to the sports they love,” he says. “Training in many sports and working pitch-side and ringside as a doctor has helped me identify injuries and how to deal with them. While not everyone requires surgery, when they do, it is extremely gratifying to use the surgical skills I’ve spent years developing to help them.”
If you’ve got a sports injury, or any type of injury or pain, Dr Cheung recommends seeking medical advice and attention from a qualified professional.
This article first appeared in the August 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!