Grateful Ukrainian Igor Subora proud to fly the flag of his adopted country
Igor Subora is pure Ukrainian by blood, but he flies the Philippine flag during fights to show appreciation to the country that he has called home for the past nine years.  

THREE times he has fought over the past several months, and each time ONE Championship light heavyweight fighter Igor Subora walked into the cage with half of his face from the eyes down wrapped in a miniature Philippine flag.

With the influx of Fil-Foreign fighters in the Asian mixed martial arts scene, it was fairly easy to mistake him for one of those guys who come over to ride on the sport's boom in the country, banking on crowd support.

Except that he's not.

Subora is pure Ukrainian by blood, and his gesture of flying the Philippine flag is just his way of giving back to the country that he has called home for the past nine years.

Through his Filipina wife, Dang, Subora has decided to make the Philippines his second home in 2008 as he made the transition from combat sambo to MMA. He hasn't left since.

"I wouldn't be here because of my wife, but I've enjoyed it here," Subora said.

"My training here has been really good. I'm training with guys thaty I've known for nine years. They know me and tha training has been really good," he added, crediting the low-key FIST Gym in Quezon City for much of his success in MMA.

Toting a 6-3 record and fresh off an impressive unanimous decision victory over Sherif Mohamed, things are finally looking bright again for Subora after a two-fight losing skid in the ONE backyard.

But it wasn't always easy for the heavy-handed sambo practitioner.

Subora admitted that it was tough for him to make the transition not only to MMA but also to his new environment, with the weather the most obvious issue for the 36-year old fighter.

Although he never lets the crowd get to him, it also took some time for him to warm up to Filipino fans, especially during his days with the URCC when he would normally hear it from the crowd in fights where he was pitted against a Filipino fighter.


"When I was starting in the URCC, you know how it is - a foreigner fighting local guys normally everybody would be really against me," Subora said.

That soon changed.

"But from what I see now, competing in international competitions, they can see what I've been doing and I've been getting better support from our fans," he added.

With his struggles all behind him, Subora now hopes to keep the momentum and is looking forward to fighting in front of a Philippine crowd again - hopefully not against a local fighter.

"I really appreciate the support for me," the Ukranian said. "If they (local fans) watch me, I promise it's gonna be a great show."

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