That’s one word to describe the coming ONE ASIA MMA Summit 2012 this coming June. Imagine 150 of the most influential movers and supporters of MMA in Asia getting under one roof and discussing how to bring rapid progress to the sport we love. Owners of different promotions, media bigwigs, heads of elite MMA gyms, popular fighters, government partners and others will be listening to experts and brainstorming on how Asian MMA could move forward. This is something Dana White would never do in the US.
As a die-hard fan and an observer, I can only imagine what kind of fight cards could come out of this summit. Being housed in the US$ 8 Billion Marina Bay Sands resort and casino, these owners are bound to meet other owners and match makers and they’re gonna have fun. After a few drinks, they’ll exchange details. Then they’ll be amiable with fighters criss-crossing their promotion, and then we’ll see crazy fights that we could’ve only dreamed of before. As a fan, I think that’s one of the things that i might get from this summit.
But what about those who are actual players in the MMA scene like the trainers? How do they think this summit would affect them and their fighters? I asked Mark Sangiao, the guy who has fought countless times in the ring and in Wushu competitions and now trains Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Roy Docyogen and Honorio Banario among others and this is what he had to say.
“ONE FC is so big and I believe that they will remain to be the biggest promotion for a long time. They have given fighters a stage to show what they got and I think some of them would be noticed and will eventually fight in the UFC. I believe that after this summit, our fighters will be given more exposure through more fights and this will only make them better.”
Pete Brooks, the URCC Cruiserweight Champion, shared what he thought should be some of the topics to be brought up in the summit and I totally agree with what he says. He talks about MMA politics, seeing fights the fans want and steroid use in MMA and better compensation for fighters.
“I want to see politics out of Asian MMA. I don’t know the story why some fighters are being blocked from fighting and I understand this is a business and companies need to make money but MMA is about THE FIGHTERS and THE FANS, and there are certain fighters that the FANS want to see…..Also, this should mean better paydays for the fighters. What promoters really need to realize is that most of these up and coming fighters are not independently wealthy, especially in the Philippines. There are some who beg for fights but are held back because of the lack of opportunities. If a fighter wants to, he should be able to fight 4-5 times a year. Contract stipulations should not stand in the way of that…..If fighters are looking to make a name on the international scene, they should show that they are clean and are not cheating to make themselves better. I want to see steroid testing in Asian MMA. Other than that, I’m really excited about where ONE FC is going and can’t wait to see more great shows!”
Another URCC Champion shared his thoughts, the King of the URCC Welterweights Eduard Folayang couldn’t be more pleased that the summit is happening. He very much looks forward to seeing more of his URCC counterparts fighting internationally and showcasing their skills.
“I think it’s good for everyone involed in MMA in Asia. The sport will be promoted more and everybody could share in the different improvements in the sport. More talent will be discovered and URCC fighters will be will be able to showcase their talent in the world because of the exposure they could get through media coverage.”
Franz Von Muhfeld, a part-owner of the URCC and events and production guru talked about how the summit will benefit the fighters and truly make them better in the long run.
“I think that the summit is a positive move in the region. It will benefit the fighters by opening up new audiences and new markets. I also believe that there will be a “technology exchange” of sorts in the offing, because the fighters will be exposed to different styles and skill levels around Asia…exposure will bring excellence, not to metion the excitemenet and awareness the move will deliver to the fans”
Lastly, I was able to get a hold of Bubbles Aguilar, the First Lady of Filipino MMA and part-owner of the URCC, Asia’s longest running promotion at 10 years now. Read on about her thoughts on the positive things this summit would bring for Asian MMA and the URCC’s roster of fighters.
“This will definitely put Asian MMA on the map as a stronghold of MMA worldwide. This is the first of its kind where top Asian MMA promoters, MMA teams and gyms, media outfits and potential sponsors will get together with one plan in mind, and that is to develop Asian MMA further and take it to greater heights. This will definitely be a good way for the URCC and its fighters to be known in the Asian MMA circuit and a way for us to expand our brand through continued partnership with other MMA promotions in Asia and we are excited to be part of this very historic event”.
Whatever the outcome is, I hope that ONE Asia MMA Summit 2012 does what I think it is destined to do. That one day, Asian fighters, promotions, and gyms will be treated as at par with their western counterparts. That Asia would be considered where the best fighters are. Where having a Ferrari (when the time comes that fighters are paid Anderson Silva money) after a few fights is a bonus but what it really is all about are the fights, the fans and the camaraderie that goes along with all of it.
Special thanks to Bubbles Bermudez-Aguilar, Franz Von Muhfeld, Mark Sangiao, Eduard Folayang and Pete Brooks for their time and thoughts !
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