Celebrity fights help raise Philippine MMA profile, admits champ Hoffman: 'Just don't do it everytime'
Chris Hoffman believes exhibition fights like the Geisler-Matos match would only help their sport if it's not done regularly. Jerome Ascano

URCC light heavyweight champion Chris Hoffman was pleased with the attention brought by the Baron Geisler-Kiko Matos fight to the Philippine mixed martial arts scene, but hinted one too many celebrity fights could hurt the sport.

The recent URCC Fight Night was met with much fanfare after Geisler and Matos figured in an exhibition bout following a bar brawl that became viral on social media. The buildup to the fight was marred by cheap shots, name-calling, and even kissing and ‘pee-spraying,’ leading to a full house at the Valkyrie.

Geisler and Matos later fought to a unanimous draw that drew varied reactions from spectators — a mix of fight fans and curious folks — who packed the venue.

Hoffman, who beat Arvin Chan in a catchweight bout that was supposed to be the headliner before the Geisler-Matos fight was moved as the main event, admitted holding exhibition amateur bouts featuring prominent personalities will help the fast-rising sport draw new fans.

But it has a catch, he was quick to add.

“It helped me a lot to showcase my skills to people who are not watching MMA usually,” said Hoffman.

“It’s good once in a while if they do an event like that. It shouldn’t be like all the time because, otherwise, we couldn’t differentiate us from Bellator or WWE. It’s a pretty good setup, just don’t do it everytime,” he said.

[See COMMENTARY: Geisler-Matos fight may have helped Philippine MMA more than hurt it]

After beating Chan, Hoffman plans to focus on his jiu-jitsu skills and see action in an MMA tournament in October, then perhaps fight one more time before the year ends.

Hoffman said he will definitely fight in the middleweight division soon, and will wait for the URCC’s decision on his light heavyweight title.

“I’ll definitely fight at 185 since they moved the divisions. If they forced me to vacate [my title], alright. If they asked me to defend it, why not? It’s not my decision,” said Hoffman.

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