Friday, November 4, 2011

Mixed martial arts going back to school

MAKATI CITY, Philippines -- Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting legends such as Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Rico Rodriguez and Chuck Liddell have been to the Philippines to the delight of fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship series.

However, homegrown Filipino fighters are also being groomed to join the ranks of the best MMA fighters. The Philippines' own Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) follows the tradition of the UFC, creating champions in the local MMA scene and slowly making a mark as a major spectator sport in the country.

For this year, the URCC is partnering with Colt 45 to bring the MMA fights back to where they all started: In schools.

The Colt 45-URCC University Challenge is on its third year and is expected to be bigger than previous events. It will be held at the A. Venue Hall, Makati Avenue, Makati City.

Several universities will compete to make their mark in the world of Filipino MMA. Among these are the University of the Philippines, University of Sto. Tomas, East Asia College, among others.

But the biggest highlight for this year's University Challenge is the three-match fight between rivals Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University. The battle is expected to be exciting especially after Ateneo beat De La Salle in Thursday's UAAP men's basketball league championship.

Alvin Aguilar, URCC founder and promoter of the University Challenge, said the event highlights the return of Philippine MMA to the schools, where it all started. Aguilar, who is a DLSU student, said some fighters started in DLSU then expanded it to UP until it spread to other schools.

Aguilar said that before, there was no measurement as to how good Filipino fighters were. There were only underground fights and street brawls as proving grounds for fighters. After being trained by Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Royce Gracie, Aguilar took the idea of the UFC to the Philippines as a venue for Filipino fighters to prove their worth.

Since then, many gyms, including those that provide boxing training, have integrated MMA training for those interested to compete. Now there are places such as DEFTAC, Elorde MMA and Yaw-yan as schools for mixed martial arts.

"Filipino MMA has evolved. Before it was just karate and judo, now fighters know how to strike and grapple," he said.

Despite the huge popularity of boxing in the Philippines, Aguilar said he believes MMA can be equally popular as boxing. He also thinks that the next athlete to have a name as legendary as boxing champion Manny Pacquiao would come from the local MMA community.

In fact, Aguilar said that he once invited Pacquiao to become an MMA fighter in the future, to which the Filipino pugilist said that he might consider it. Aguilar believes that Pacquiao would also be a good MMA fighter if he wishes to, since Pacquiao's coach, Freddie Roach, has also trained many MMA fighters.

"Filipinos have great potential in MMA. Someone like Manny Pacquiao can also compete in MMA, not just here but also abroad. We only need to give hem more support and training," Aguilar said.

By Alexander Villafania

mma philippines


  1. Martial arts Keep you fit and builds your stamina Powerful, and makes your mind and body focused.
    Martial Arts Sutherland Shire

    1. Agreed in full with you Daniel. Thanks for the visit. :)

      Travel Philippines