An MMA experienceBy Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It was my first time to watch a mixed martial arts competition last Saturday night, so I didn’t quite know what to expect.
I’ve been told that MMA is a fast rising sport which is gaining vast popularity in certain parts of the world, especially in the US.
MMA is an extremely physical contact sport, described as brutal by many. If you can’t stomach for the sight of blood, this sport is not for you—either to watch or engage in.
* * *
After a quick dinner at Shakey’s hosted by AKTV, coveror of the event, we proceeded to the Ynares Center just across, leaving behind Derby Ace assistant coach Jeffrey Cariaso, Brandon Cablay and Tony dela Cruz, who were also going to watch the competition.
Even outside the gymnasium, the atmosphere was upbeat. There were tents and booths set up at the Ynares grounds where food, ice cold San Miguel Strong Ice beer, as well as non-edibles were sold. Beauteous promo ladies greeted your eyes when you entered the gym.
There was a long queue making its way to the entrance, and I was surprised to see that the audience of this sport were young, lower and upper middle class, in their 20’s, male and female.
The ladies were well groomed, dressed in tasteful fashion. The men, most of them hunks, were mostly garbed in dark, tight-fitting t-shirts and jeans which showed off their muscles.
It seemed like the MMA enthusiasts were the type who spent many hours inside the gym.
At ringside inside the gym, I also saw PBA cagers Jondan Salvador, Mick Pennisi, Danny Seigle, Don Allado and Eric Menk.
AKTV’s Paul Mata said the event was star-studded indeed. Showbiz’ stars present were Dennis Trillo, JC de Vera, Martin Escudero, Gwen Garci and Ellen Adarna.
* * *
An MMA athlete has to be well-honed in several disciplines like boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and jujitsu. If you’re only good at one of these, you’re at a severe disadvantage. The more martial arts you’re good at, the better.
Otherwise, you can end up bleeding from all orifices , or you can go home with crisscross cuts in your face and arms. A Korean who fought last Saturday left the ring with a huge bump on his forehead, as big as a tennis ball.
My young female companion couldn’t bear the sight and closed her eyes after every bout.
A non-title bout is limited to three rounds, a title fight to five. Going more than that could be dangerous.
* * *
Some people can’t stand the physicality of the sport. Surprisingly, women seem to be more fascinated with MMA than boxing.
EJ Calvo, promoter and general manager of the Pacific Extreme Combat, or PXC, which is based in Guam, is determined to make the sport popular here in the Philippines, with the local fans responding to his first three events positively.
“We want PXC to be the driving force in raising the bar for MMA in the Philippines and Asia. PXC is the only event in the Philippines that has actually had fighters come through our ranks to the Ultimate Fighting Championship,” Calvo said.
* * *
HOOPVINE: I didn’t give any meaning to the absence of Jinkee Pacquiao during the victory party tendered for her husband at the Resorts World Hotel last Monday night, until a news director from a TV network tickled my curiosity… “Perhaps she does not want to encounter one of Manny’s most ardent fans who works there,” he said… Bumped into Harbour Centre’s Mikee Romero during the sendoff party hosted by team manager Alex Wang for the Philippine Girls under 16 team—the Perlitas—to the Fiba-Asia in Shandong, China… Mikee is into a new sport, polo, where his team recently emerged champion in an international competition held in Thailand… I cautioned Mikee that horseback riding reduced actor Christopher Reeve and Filipino businessman Enrique Zobel to a wheelchair, paralyzed from neck down… Mikee said that’s exactly what makes the sport thrilling.
More from this Column:
- Good poll results for many PBA hosts
- Cebuana ready to take the leap?
- What goodwill? Visiting Sharks far from friendly
- Pacquiao-Rios a slam-bang fight
- Guerrero no big deal for Mayweather