NOTHING THAT REALLY MATTERS EVER COMES EASY.
There are many things that challenge and work to keep us from completing our life missions, but none of them ever stopped me from achieving my vision for MMA in the Philippines. I came up with this at first to put an end to all of the underground fighting which was destroying the martial arts community. When I first started the URCC, we were expecting 500 people to watch our event but much to our overwhelming surprise, 5000 people SHOWED UP. It was only then that I knew the MMA scene here in our country would begin!
Our beginning was barely a walk in the park but we made it through every hurdle and Ten years later we are the LONGEST RUNNING MMA PROMOTION IN ASIA. To top everything off, our fighters are now one of the best if not THE BEST in ASIA. This shit was NOT AT ALL EASY though!!! There were a lot of trials we had to go through when we put up our first few shows. The first was the fighters didn’t believe I could pull off something like this. They had been approached before by all sorts of wannabe promoters and nothing ever pushed thru. I had to convince each team individually that we were for real and I even had to stake my name multiple times. Until now I’m very sure a majority of them didn’t believe me until the day of the actual fights. Second was finding a venue for the URCC. NO ONE wanted to take the chance. Just imagine ten years ago when NO ONE heard about MMA and some skinny, tisoy boy like me comes up to you and asks “um, can we hold fights here? Actual fights where the only way to win is by submission or KO?” I could just imagine what was going on in the minds of every venue guy I spoke to. They were probably thinking “Is he fukin crazy???” Sponsors would also basically say the same thing. I remember we even had these two guys that promised us the moon and the stars that they would source out sponsors for us. They produced ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and I call them the NO-GO GUYS to this day. One of them is actually masquerading around right now as a knife expert. And guess what? People actually believe him. LOL!J What happened with the sponsors though was they basically wanted to see if we were a legitimate event that they could support. (And YES we finally got sponsors in the second show!!!) but those three hurdles were basically everything we needed for a show like this.
Looking back at the first event we had ever held ten years ago, I remember during our first fighter briefing there were so many funny instances. Just for kicks, let me enumerate what I can recall (there were so many though):
- There was this one guy from the group of TRACMA told me it wouldn’t be fair to their opponents so they requested that their opponents wear helmets so it would be safe for them. Now how the fuck do you react to something like that? Well we all know what happened there. All of their guys lost that night.
- Another fighter took his gun out and placed it on the ring in front of everybody. He didn’t say anything though. He just basically took the damn thing out and then slowly placed at the ring corner. Parang to say “tigas daw siya” coz he had a gun hahahahahha! What an idiot. (he got his ass kicked too)
- One of the instructors of the fighters came in wearing shades, now we were indoors so there was literally no sunlight around. He later said he wore shades because if people recognized him “baka pagkaguluhan siya”
- There was this other fighter that also claimed that he was taught by both Rickson Gracie and Dan Gable. Hmmmm… Ten years later this “fighter” I find out is actually ranked in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu as a…(insert drum roll) ….Blue belt!
I’m sorry I just had to share the qualities of the different characters we were dealing with at the time. You can probably guess I meet all sortsJ
That first night though was really something else. Like I said earlier I was only expecting at best around 500 people. I got a call the night before and it was Noel Zarate who congratulated me on a successful event. I was like “how would he know?” Apparently he did. All my friends and students were there and more! The crowd just kept getting bigger and bigger. The lines and traffic outside the Casino Filipino was going crazy! And finally for the first time ever our first URCC announcer Alan Sevilla, started off the event! He happens to be the one who coined the term “BAKBAKAN NA!!!” He then introduced me to give the welcoming remarks to the crowd. I was dressed only in a plain t-shirt and shorts and I addressed and thanked a crowd of 5000 people. This was to become a tradition in all URCC events (minus the shirt and shorts.)
The first fight ever of the URCC was between Geneayce Baga of DEFTAC and Nilo Oreo of TRACMA. Even if I had participated in and had witnessed hundreds of matches, I really did not know what to expect in the first match. I was so worried that the crowd would just say “you suck!” and throw apples and tomatoes like in the movies. I really didn’t know what to expect from the crowd because we were all used to fighting for honor and pride and never for show. Every blow, kick, movement and submission drew a reaction!!! Everybody was so excited for each and every match. When a fighter was being introduced you could already feel the intensity and excitement of the crowd. That night we had 19 action packed fights and only one referee!
At the end of that night I was so happy that all of our hard work paid off. Ten years ago we showed the world what matters. It wasn’t easy getting there but Ten years later the URCC is always sold out everywhere we go. Our fighters have dominated the Asian circuit and are set to venture into the American fight scene. We are also going to have URCC events in different countries. Imagine that. What started as a way to end the underground violence in our country is now one of Asia’s premier MMA League’s. Now all of that hard work will be shown this Dec. 1 in the SM MOA ARENA – URCC DEKADA in our biggest and best show ever. I would love to see all of you there! Together let’s celebrate our country’s success and dominance in the MMA scene here in ASIA.