Sports


Touch of Truth




Give And Go
Michael Angelo S. Murillo


Posted on September 10, 2014


WHEN ONE Fighting Championship makes its return to the country later this year, it will be with a touch of Truth. Of the Brandon Vera kind that is as the Filipino-American fighter is set to make his debut with Asia’s largest mixed martial arts promotion.

In the event dubbed “ONE FC: Warrior’s Way” and slated for Dec. 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena, “The Truth,” as the 36-year-old Vera is popularly known in the MMA world, will begin his ONE FC journey after an eight-year and 16-fight stop with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

While with the UFC he juggled between fighting in the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, in ONE FC he said he intends to fight in the heavyweight (265 lbs) class. His opponent for his December debut has yet to be named but a lot of quality names are being floated around, including former UFC fighter James McSweeney, who has won his first two fights in ONE FC.

But knowing Vera as a fighter he could care less who his opponent would be. As he himself said last week in a media luncheon announcing his debut, “I am not one who chooses his opponent. I just train and show up on fight day... I don’t care.”

Having Vera come over and fight in this part of the world is definitely huge. I compare it to world female boxing champion Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton making her promotional debut here in May at “ONE FC: Rise of Heroes” as far as generating excitement is concerned.

Vera may have lost four of his last six fights, including the last two, but there is no denying that he is a world-class fighter, boasting of a solid arsenal of wrestling, muay thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, who can be counted on to bring in a consequent world-class show.

Being a Filipino -- yes he proudly professes his being Filipino, well versed in the idiosyncrasies of being one beyond expectations -- local fight fans should have no problem relating, and cheering, for The Truth come December.

Members of the media had a taste of Vera’s “Filipino-ness” during last week’s press launch where he dazzled with his good command of the Tagalog language, prompting one writer to even mutter, “I already love this guy (Vera).”

More than his wit with Tagalog, one can sense his genuine affinity for the Filipinos and the Philippines. He is fighting as Filipino and will go all out in the cage in front of you and me.

Vera is also not lacking in motivation as he prepares for his ONE FC debut. He is not settling for anything less, saying “I plan to be the (ONE FC) heavyweight champion for as long as I can.” And such pronouncement may not be totally far-fetched from happening as he vowed to train hard and use every stimulus, including his being cut by UFC earlier this year, he can get as inspiration to see his mission at this stage of his career come to fruition.

While the fight card for December’s “Warrior’s Way” has yet to be finalized, local MMA fans no doubt have a reason to be excited knowing that the “total package” that is Vera is going to be part of ONE FC’s yearend show here in the country. The Truth will be unveiled. Can you handle it?

ONE Fighting Championship makes a stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Oct. 17 for “ONE FC: Roar of Tigers.”

Michael Angelo S. Murillo is part of BusinessWorld’s editorial staff and a contributor for the paper.

msmurillo@bworldonline.com