Manny Pacquiao has partnered with the Singapore-based ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC) by buying undisclosed number of shares last August in the widely recognized biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in Asia.
Being a global sports icon, Pacquiao’s entry to the world of MMA is expected to generate more interest in the combat sports according to ONE FC’s Filipino-Canadian CEO Victor Cui.
Manny Pacquiao won’t be trading his boxing gloves for the grappling gloves used in the MMA but Cui said having the boxing superstar on board ONE FC will bring more awareness and growth to MMA in the region. His venturing into the sports is expected to bring more opportunities to Filipino fighters.
Having Pacquiao as a shareholder of the organization and having him promote MMA will be huge for the sports, Cui said.
Cui related in a round table meeting with media held at Maxims Hotel in Resorts World Manila on Wednesday that during his conversation with Pacquiao in the boxer’s place in General Santos City, the sports icon said two great things.
The first one, Cui said, was upon looking at all sports, Pacquiao realized there are only two sports – boxing and MMA – that would allow somebody without money to rise from poverty to become a world champion. In explaining the Pacman’s logic, the ONE FC CEO said that unlike in basketball where one needs to go to an institution or a school to advance in the sports, in MMA, anybody can be a champion even if one is an out-of-school youth.
The second thing Pacquiao said is the great idea of combining boxing and MMA as an entertainment offering to fans.
Cui also disclosed that all of Pacquiao’s gyms are offering MMA classes to develop more Filipino MMA fighters.
The ONE FC, according to Cui, will be increasing its presence in the Philippines. The organization is planning to stage a fight in Manila every six months.