March 23, 2014

Continuing my side career as an MMA journo/analyst. Likely the only sports beat I can cover. 

One FC returns to the Philippines, bannered by fighters with stories

 By March 18, 2014 9:36pm


The fighters walked on-stage in three-piece suits, dapper and composed. Current Bantamweight champ Bibiano Fernandes in particular, whose speed and agility made him a six-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, seemed restrained in slate grey, a portrait of power at rest.

Fernandes and other mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters are in Manila to promote the upcoming ONE FC: Rise of Heroes to be held on May 2, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

At the press con held on the morning of Tuesday, at the MOA Atrium, ONE FC’s CEO Victor Cui took the time to emphasize the narratives of the fighters beyond their training and the cage.

“I want to share with you the stories of our fighters that make ONE FC a great organization,” Cui said. “The fighters and their corner men are some of the greatest men that I’ve ever met, and they have amazing stories.”

Cui stated that one of the best stories happened in Malaysia, a week previous, at the War of Nations tournament. The main event for that night was for the Welterweight belt, where Japanese fighter Nobutatsu Suzuki went up against American wrestler Brock Larson.

At that fight, Suzuki eventually won by unanimous decision though, early on, Larson asserted his wrestling credentials by taking Suzuki down and landing several elbows in the first round. Suzuki enjoyed success with his accurate knees in the second round. By the fourth and fifth rounds Suzuki’s knees were the story and it was likely those significant strikes to Larson’s midsection that had cemented the judges’ unanimous decision for the inaugural Welterweight title.

“Suzuki is also a full-time lawyer,” smiled Cui. “Hours before he fought he was in his office e-mailing and doing work. He fought his heart out last Friday [in the Malaysia event] and won a world championship. On Saturday he flew back to Japan and on Sunday sent me a picture with him in a suit, his new [championship] belt on his shoulder, and his face mashed. He was sitting in front of his computer working…he’s the kind of champion we can relate to, the kind that has a day job.”

Read the rest over at GMA News Online’s sports section.


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