One FC’s Cui explains replacement of Lewis-Parry as Vera’s foe
Rick Olivares ( - December 9, 2015 - 10:35pm

MANILA, Philippines – The war of words between Chi Lewis-Parry and Brandon Vera and One FC is like a low blow towards Asia’s biggest MMA circuit especially right before the latter’s year-end bonanza offering, Spirit of Champions.

It’s a virtual he-said-he-said affair where Perry claims that One FC pulled the old switcheroo on his title bout with Vera while the fight organization says they yanked him out after he refused to provide medical records. Vera joined the fray with an expletive-ridden video rant directed towards Lewis-Parry after the Englishman didn’t board a flight to Manila for the fight.

Sure, it makes for good theater and creates some noise for the promotion, yet of greater concern, this is the second time in two months that the main bout of a One FC event has proven problematic.

Last November, the much-anticipated return bout between Ben Askren and Luis Santos did not materialize after the latter showed up two pounds overweight. In subsequent discussions, it is alleged that Santos did not accede to Askren’s provisions for the fight to continue; hence, the title shot taken off the table which Santos did not like.

Now there’s this mess with Lewis-Parry.

To be fair to One FC, controversies between fighters and their parent companies aren’t new. The UFC, the biggest and most popular MMA promotion, has had its share of controversy from fighters inexplicably dropped from the roster to an entire promotion canceled (UFC 151) to fight records being rewritten among many others. Strikeforce and the much-respected Pride FC had its own as well. So Lewis-Parry war of words will pass but will there be a cost to One FC? Two of the biggest headliners in One FC -- Ben Askren and Brandon Vera — have their fights cancelled or opponents changed on very short notice.

As much as I love that Asians are getting their chance on the big stage, it always helps to have some big names participate for they draw attention and hype to the event.

Did Lewis-Parry’s rant against One FC and Vera on the War of Words podcast last December 5, where he talked about his dislike for Vera and threatened to do a Riddick Bowe and dump the ONE FC Heavyweight title in the dumpster should he be victorious on December 11, have an effect on him being booted from the title bout?

On the same day, the Englishman a screen shot of Paul Cheng Tweet: “Just got some amazing news. My time to shine.”

Lewis-Parry took this to mean that One FC wasn’t serious about giving him a shot at the title so he decided not to take the flight to Manila.

In a phone conversation this past Wednesday afternoon, One FC chief executive officer Victor Cui disclosed that requesting the blood work and drug tests has been mandatory for all fighters.

“The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is strict about this especially since it is a title bout,” said Cui. “The safety of our fighters is paramount. We operate at the highest levels and there are all these mandatories that we as an organization have to comply with; drugs tests are part of that. We have Matt Hume and Rich Franklin who have integrity and are building One FC as a brand. They will not stand for anything that is not right.”

“Second, Chi didn’t get on that plane. We only found out when we sent people to pick him up at the airport."

When we asked Cui about Lewis-Parry’s screen shot of the Paul Cheng tweet, he had this to say: “After the failed Askren-Santos fight, we made it a point to have a back-up in the event one party is unable to make it. People are flying over to watch the fight. People are paying money to watch a fight. It doesn’t look good not to have a fight. The number two challenger is a good choice because you know he is just as hungry."

“In this business, you have to be prepared for all eventualities,” summed up Cui. “Now we hope that the main bout will be just as electric.”

So the main event of One FC: Spirit of Champions will be Vera (13-7-0) versus Cheng (5-1-0). Even without Lewis-Parry, it doesn’t mean that Vera is more relaxed.

“Far from it,” Cui admitted. “I am still nervous. My friends tell me, ‘Brandon, that’s because you’re fighting for the belt and because you’re fighting at home. Just embrace it. You’re nervous that means you’re ready and aware.”

This is the second time that Vera is headlining a fight. The last time Vera fought in the main event that was in UFC on Fox 4 where he lost to Shogun Rua in the fourth round.

“Yeah, hopefully, this will be a better ending. Especially since it is here in Manila," said Cui.

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