By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

ITS EVENTS temporarily halted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) said it remains committed to what it does and expressed readiness to get back into action once conditions permit it to do so.

Founded in 2002 by martial artist Alvin Aguilar, the URCC has been credited largely by many for furthering the growth of mixed martial arts in the country and in Southeast Asia as well as paving the way for many Filipino fighters to establish solid careers not only in the promotion but also in other groups abroad.

Like many sports organizations in the country, the URCC said it laments COVID-19 putting everything to a halt, but it recognizes the seriousness of the situation with the pandemic and is willing to wait it out to ensure the safety and health of every stakeholder.

“As soon as everything, all the guidelines are in and we’re allowed to have major events, we’re all go. As long as everyone’s safe, I don’t want to be responsible for getting people [sick] or [having people] spreading this disease … I don’t want to be known as that promotion,” said Mr. Aguilar, who was the first guest in the inaugural episode of Tiebreaker Vods’ The Hit List on Sunday.

The URCC was scheduled to hold an event in April but was forced to put it on hold as COVID-19 became a going concern and the government came out with mitigating measures to help stop the spread of the virus, including prohibiting mass gatherings like sporting events.

It is looking at resuming activities sometime in September where it hopes the situation would be far better as far as the COVID-19 situation is concerned.

Also in the podcast, Mr. Aguilar talked about how far the MMA in the country, and the URCC as an organization, has gone, something they intend to take further moving forward.

“I knew eventually it would pick up and everybody would start accepting it, but when I first did the event I was expecting you know… five hundred people to show up and five thousand people showed up and that was the start of MMA history here in Southeast Asia,” said Mr. Aguilar, referring to the “URCC 1: Mayhem in Manila” in November 2002.

The URCC founder went on to share that early on they had to debunk a lot of misconceptions about the sport, including it being “brutal” and “gruesome,” and had to convince people of MMA’s value both as a sport and entertainment fare.

Mr. Aguilar said nearly two decades into URCC’s existence they are not done seeing their mission and vision through.

“To tell you honestly, I’m not where I want to be in terms of goals yet. So when we say [we] made it, I have a different made it because I have a long, long game plan. So I have a game plan that no other country would be doing,” Mr. Aguilar said.

Among the things they still want to achieve are shoring up the amateur side of MMA here and taking the sport nationwide once again. These involve helping athletes develop their game with the end view of making them “world-class.”

“So in terms of [having] made it, not yet. We haven’t made it yet but we’ll get there and I’ll tell you right away you’ll see,” Mr. Aguilar said.

Moving forward, the URCC official said fans should expect continuing to see quality action from the promotion.

“I can’t wait to see you [fans] guys again watching all the fights. Don’t worry, we are not going anywhere, we are always going to be here. We’re always going to be a staple in our country and elsewhere. We’re always going to be a staple here, show you the best fights, the most exciting MMA promotion in Asia; real fights,” Mr. Aguilar said.