DESPITE the lack of Filipinos in the fight card, ONE Fighting Championship CEO Victor Cui is confident Pinoy mixed martial arts fans will be in attendance at the Mall of Asia Arena for ONE FC: Rise of Heroes on May 2.
Even with flyweight prospect Eugene Toquero the only Pinoy announced to participate in the still-developing 10-fight card so far, Cui once again expects no less than a packed crowd at the 20,000-seater venue.
“We’ve got great fans here,” the Canadian entrepreneur who’s part Filipino said. “The Philippines is the last market that we’re ever worried about the turnout.”
The first three editions in the country of Asia’s largest MMA organization saw near-sellout crowds as a handful of Filipinos took part in each card.
Five Filipinos saw action in Pride of a Nation in August 2012 and another five entered the cage in Rise to Power last May. Moment of Truth last December had a record seven Pinoys participating.
Cui, though, said more Filipinos fighters will be part of the upcoming card and will be announced in the next few weeks as he rattled off the names of Team Lakay stablemates Eduard Folayang and Rey Docyogen.
But even with Rise of Heroes loaded with foreigners, the ONE FC boss expects the card to be a hit, explaining that the world-class action, alone, is a crowd-drawer.
And the bantamweight championship bout between title-holder Bibiano Fernandes of Brazil and Japanese challenger Masakatsu Ueda, for one, can provide that.
“You want to be in the presence of greatness,” said Cui, regarded as most powerful man in Asian MMA. “You want to be around somebody that inspires you. These two men, that’s what they do.”
“Our world championship fight has two of the best fighters.”