A TOP official of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has expressed concern over national associations losing top fighters in professional mixed martial arts organizations.
Wushu Federation Philippines secretary general Julian Camacho said he plans to take up the issue to the POC general assembly after the national federation nearly lost 2014 Asian Games wush silver medallist Jean Claude Saclag to an MMA outfit.
“Buti sana if they are training their athletes themselves, eh hindi eh. Kinukuha nila,” Camacho, who is also POC treasurer, said.
National sports associations have lost top fighters to fledgling MMA outfits in the past as the sports grew in popularity in Asia over the years, thanks to the success of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
In the case of Saclag, Camacho said he warned the national team mainstay of the legal repercussions after learning that he was already preparing for a match in the URCC, an Asia-based MMA outfit.
Saclag, Camacho said, is listed as a 'priority athlete' by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and therefore receives a monthly allowance of P40,000.
“He was practicing jujitsu for three to four days because he was preparing for the URCC,” said Camacho. “I told him na he better come back at baka idemanda siya ng PSC, kasi may pinirmahan siyang kontrata. Baka siya ang maging unang idemanda ng mga tinatangay ng MMA.”
Camacho said he was able to talk Saclag out of the plan to fight in the URCC this week.
The POC official said Saclag decided to give the URCC a try after mistakenly foreseeing that his salary from the government sports agency would be slashed soon.
“Ang katwiran niya, allowance. Silver medalist kasi siya ng Asian Games so ang nakukuha niya is P40,000 hanggang 2018. Akala niya babalik siya sa mga bandang P10,000 kaya gusto niyang mag-URCC,” said Camacho.
Camacho accused MMA organizations of recruiting national athletes from combat sports like wushu and judo, adding he hopes measures would be put in place to discourage the practice.
In the meantime, the wushu official can only heave a sigh of relief that Saclag has decided to stay put, saying he sees him as a good bet for the gold in the next Asiad.
“We are preparing him (Saclag) for 2018 because I’m sure he will get the gold,” said Camacho, referring to the 2018 Asian Games to be held in Indonesia.