WHAT was Brandon Vera, the reigning ONE Heavyweight Champion, doing in the middle of a room full of angry rap artists?
To pacify the situation, that is.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Vera served as the main peacekeeper in the wild Sunugan: Bad Blood event held earlier this month at Green Sun Hotel in Makati.
The 41-year-old MMA superstar was in the middle of the battle between the undefeated Pricetagg and the controversial Makagago, keeping things in line for all three rounds.
For the event's host Mike Swift, there's really no better man for the job than Vera.
"I asked him that I needed a favor cause I have a match-up in battle rap that’s yet to be introduced," said the respected emcee, a close friend to Vera since their days in San Diego.
"It wasn’t easy to get him there because he has management now and of course, he wouldn’t want to be a part of something that can kind of like smudge his image, but basically, I told him you got to look at it as something positive.
"I compared it to a main event bout, a ONE Championship main event. It’s a novelty match-up but it’s a dream match-up and I got to convince him to be a part of it and I’m glad he did cause I felt that the energy might be too strong since I’m the only one there on stage."
Vera stood out in a throng of muscular bouncers, keeping things in check as the battle got heated a number of times after Pricetagg was unanimously awarded the victory.
Yet through it all, Makagago could smirk knowing that he did what he does best - to diss everyone in plain sight.
For Swift, Vera did his role to the best of his abilities.
"If Brandon wasn’t there, the energy would have been too strong for anyone to stop, it could have been a riot. So having Brandon there definitely helped ease that tension," he said.
Unfortunately, not even Vera's presence on stage could stop a fan, later identified as FlowG of Ex Batallion, from sucker punching Makagago on his way out.
Swift, though, is convinced that had Vera not been present in the event, the situation could've been worse.
"Even though he was there and all the security, a punch still got through," he said. "But Brandon mediated to the best of his ability, all the way down to the end where there was a skirmish. Definitely had he not been there, it would have been worse."