Manny Pacquiao, ONE FC to promote local fights soon
Alder Almo (The Philippine Star) - December 4, 2014 - 5:20am

MANILA, Philippines – ONE FC is once again looking at breaking boundaries and setting the bar higher for Mixed Martial Arts in Asia as its CEO Victor Cui is excited with the possibilities of its recent partnership with Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.

Pacquiao, who bought undisclosed shares in the ONE FC last August, won’t trade the ring with the octagon anytime soon said the Fil-Canadian founder of the Asia’s largest MMA organization but the deal would bring more opportunities to Filipino fighters.

“In our conversation with Manny in GenSan at his place, we’re talking about him coming on board with ONE FC, he said two great things. The first one was upon looking at all sports, there are only really two sports that allows somebody without money to rise from absolute poverty to become a world champion – boxing and MMA,” Cui said during the media round table at Maxims Hotel in Resorts World Manila on Wednesday.

Not undermining basketball as the most popular sports in the country, the articulate ONE FC top brass further explained Pacquiao’s logic that one need to go into institution or school to advance in basketball whereas in combat sports, you can become a world champion like Pacquiao even if you are an out-of-school youth.

“Second, he’s got this idea down the road that he finds a way to combine events of boxing and MMA as an entertainment offering to fans. Maybe part of the night boxing, part of the night MMA but we’re still working through that. We want to go to the provinces and stage smaller competitions that will serve as feeder leagues to ONE FC,” added Cui, who traces his roots in Cebu. 

While Pacquiao is a relative new MMA fan, his group owns a series of gyms and all of them offer MMA classes which Cui said makes sense as the eight-division boxing champion wants to develop more boxers as well as MMA fighters to follow his footsteps and carry the Phl flag the way he did in the international arena.

“Suportado ko naman ang sports dito sa atin especially boxing at MMA (I’m always an avid supporter of sports here in our country especially boxing and MMA),” was Pacquiao’s short reply to when asked about Cui’s statements.

The Filipino ring icon did not elaborate on the details since he was in a hurry after his Kia Sorento kissed their playoffs hopes goodbye in the PBA with a sorry loss to Meralco Bolts, 99-93, a few hours after the ONE FC CEO’s media round table.

Cui said that there will never be another Pacquiao but they are building their brand carefully to sell out arenas the way the Filipino ring icon does by giving non-stop action to entertain the fans.

He also disclosed that ONE FC will start to increase its presence here next year.  

“Our calendar in 2015 is already set. There will be 24 fights scheduled for next year across Asia, including 10 in China and two in Manila. We’re planning to do a fight here every six months,” Cui said. 

ONE FC will hold a fight card headlined by former UFC star Brandon Vera on Friday 7 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

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