ONE chief Sityodtong rallies behind Team Lakay amid online hate
MANILA, Philippines—Chatri Sityodtong, founder and CEO of ONE Championship, came to Team Lakay’s defense after the renowned MMA stable out of Baguio City,came under fire from online bashers following a losing campaign in ONE: Century on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan
Team Lakay went 1-3 in the organization’s grandest event yet with the debuting Lito Adiwang serving as the squad’s saving grace after he crushed Japanese champion Senzo Ikeda with a first-round stoppage in their flyweight bout.
The rest, however, took painful setbacks with Danny Kingad dropping a unanimous decision to MMA icon Demetrious Johnson in their Flyweight World Grand Prix Championship Final, Honorio Banario falling to Japanese legend Shinya Aoki and Kevin Belingon bowing to longtime rival Bibiano Fernandes in the fourth meeting.
“I would like to take a moment to address the online hate against my brothers and sisters at Team Lakay. First, let me begin by saying that Team Lakay is one of the best fight teams in the world. Full stop. Period. End of story. On any given day, Team Lakay can crush any team in the world,” Sityodtong wrote on his Facebook account Wednesday.
I would like to take a moment to address the online hate against my brothers and sisters at Team Lakay. First, let me…
Sityodtong said the unfavorable result in Tokyo should not in any way undermine Team Lakay’s status as one of the best in the world, which their fighters were able to prove after four of them were once at the pedestal of their respective divisions at the same time last year.
The team’s recent struggles, however, are just part of the cycle of sports as far as Sityodtong is concerned.
“The reality is that every world championship team goes through ups and downs. You can see it in martial arts, but you can also see it in every other sport in the world. The truth is that it is almost impossible to win world championships consistently when you are competing at the highest levels in the world,” he said.
“There is no margin for error. If it was easy to win world championships against the best in the world, every team would do it. ONE Championship represents the highest levels in the world. It is the biggest global stage for martial arts. And Team Lakay has put Philippines on the world map many times.”
Sityodtong also believes Team Lakay, who is home to the likes of two-time lightweight king Eduard Folayang, former flyweight champion Geje Eustaquio and reigning strawweight champion Joshua Pacio, and ex-bantamweight titleholder Kevin Belingon, will be back on top.
“Will Team Lakay win more world titles in the future? I would bet my life on it. Team Lakay is full of superstar martial artists with a head coach who knows what he is doing. If you ask me, it is only a matter of time before Team Lakay rules the world again,” he said.
Sityodtong also urged fight fans to rally behind Team Lakay.
“Man, if anything, we should all be standing united, defending Team Lakay against all of the online haters who have never stepped into a martial arts school or a ring or a cage,” he said. “Let us stand up and applaud Team Lakay and Mark Sangiao for chasing their dreams fearlessly in their quest to make history with another world title.”
“Let us join hands and educate the world about their extraordinary stories and incredible warrior spirits. Let us unite about all the great things they have done in their lives due to the power of martial arts. Martial arts has made all of our lives better. Let us not forget that Danny Kingad, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, or anyone else who lost in Tokyo is one of us.”
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