UNIVERSAL Reality Combat Championship founder Alvin Aguilar is looking at a promising future ahead for Filipino mixed marital artists.
But he believes they don’t need ONE FC to get there.
Fresh from a successful 25th staging of the country’s premier MMA organization last Thursday that showcased the talent of Filipino MMA fighters, Aguilar lashed out at ONE FC for how they have been managing the careers of former URCC stars like Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, and Rey Docyogen.
The URCC had a partnership with ONE FC when the latter first came to the country.
“I lent them Edward and all those guys, but look what happened to their careers in ONE FC,” he said.
After their dominant stints in the URCC, Folayang, Belingon, Banario, and Docyogen have had so-so campaigns in what is considered as Asia’s largest MMA outfit, which is viewed as a greener pasture and a stepping stone the world’s biggest stage, the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
While he believes the UFC remains the ultimate destination, Aguilar feels ONE FC is not the way to get there, considering how the organization, the URCC boss feels, has rushed fighters into appearing in title fights.
Aguilar said he made a mistake in letting ONE FC borrow his fighters.
“The thing is we made a mistake with them and we’re not going to make the mistake again. We’re going to make sure that all our fighters are prepared when they get to the UFC.
“A lot of fighters want to get there right away, but they’re not there yet,” added the country’s first jiu-jitsu black-belter. “As a fighter, you have to be confident in yourself. But sometimes the confidence is just too much.”
“Just like anybody, even Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer, had to fight nobodies before he worked his way up. The same thing has to happen to our fighters. First, the Philippines, then the foreigners, then we fight abroad, and then that’s when we fight in the UFC.”
Aguilar bared a plan to hold a historic URCC event overseas next March, hinting it will be outside Asia.
“When a next URCC fighter goes to the UFC, he’s going to be prepared. And when he gets there, he’s going to stay,” Aguilar continued. “There’s no one-shot bulls---.”
That’s why he also rued the setback of Dave Galera, the country’s first homegrown Filipino in the UFC, who disappointed in his debut last year after less than a year of reigning as URCC bantamweight champion.
“Look what happened. That’s exactly what I didn’t want to happen, what happened to Dave, what’s happening to Folayang. Sure, you get one or two ONE FC fights, but that’s nothing. Regardless of the hype, that’s nothing. I want them to be known around the world. I don’t want false hype. Bulls--- will get you to the top, but it will not keep you there.”
Aguilar also said ONE FC is not doing a good job promoting Filipino fighters.
“Their goal is supposedly around Asia, right? Look at everybody around here. These are real fans. I didn’t give away any tickets. When ONE FC comes here, that’s all free tickets. they’ll give it away and they’ll say, ‘We’re sold out,’ but a lot of the guys are not even MMA fans.
“You don’t want to watch a bunch of Malaysians or Chinese. You want to watch our Filipino brothers kick ass, ‘di ba?”
“That’s my honest assessment of things,” added Aguilar, known as the father of Philippine MMA, having founded the URCC in 2003. “I told the guys, ‘You guys are going to be great. The thing is, we have to know about delayed gratification.’
“(What ONE FC does is) good for them, but stay away from our fighters, because our fighters are meant for greatness. They already ruined some of our fighters and I’m not going to let that happen anymore.
“Our fighters have to be best known around the world, not just for your own consumption just around Asia or wherever you feel like it.”
In the end, Aguilar kept his door open for a return of his former wards.
“The URCC is open for everybody. Basta Pinoy, go tayo. I just need people to realize that our goal is to give them the best possible deal and the best possible deal means delayed gratification.”