While waiting for title shot, Catalan focuses on his fighters | Inquirer Sports

While waiting for title shot, Catalan focuses on his fighters

/ 05:20 AM May 15, 2020

Rene Catalan yearns for the day when he could again compete in the mixed martial arts’ grand stage.But for now, he is focusing on making ends meet managing a gym with 12 budding fighters under his care.

“Kargo ko silang lahat (I’m responsible for all of them),” he told the Inquirer on Thursday.

Some of Catalans’ wards come from as far as Samar, Bicol and General Santos City and are also from indigent families.

“It’s just hard nowadays since our main sources of income have been shut down, too,” he added in Filipino.


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic pretty much crippled all of Catalan’s revenue streams: his gym in Makati, the competitions he participates in, and his small perfume business.

Before the global health crisis struck, the 41-year-old fighter’s gym drew around 15 students across various martial arts disciplines. An additional 40 swing by specifically for taekwondo group classes.

Nowadays, Catalan, an Asian Games gold medalist and a Southeast Asian Games silver winner, is relying on his savings and some donations from his other well-off students to pull through.

The national fighter in both wushu and sambo said that during the pandemic, he is taking comfort in the little things.


Among those little blessings is being named in ONE Championship’s fighters’ rankings where he figured as the third-best contender for the strawweight division title.

Also, a welcome relief came in the form of suspended rent: “I’m just glad [our landlords] haven’t been charging us.”


But on top of the Ilonggo fighter’s wish list would be being able to get back to the basics.“I hope to get a crack at the title, again, too,” Catalan said, hoping to finally get over the hump that is defending champion Joshua Pacio.

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TAGS: Mixed Martial Arts, Rene Catalan

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