Manny Pacquiao has thrown his weight behind the ever-increasing popularity of mixed martial arts after media reports yesterday revealed the Filipino boxing superstar has bought a stake in ONE Fighting Championship, Asia’s leading MMA organisation.
ONE FC CEO Victor Cui confirmed yesterday to Yahoo Sports that Pacman had purchased an undisclosed number of shares. “I’m pretty pumped,” Cui said.
“There are a ton of reasons why I’m pretty excited about this. Obviously, Manny Pacquiao is a global sports icon and having him as a part of our organisation as a shareholder and promoting ONE FC and promoting the sport is huge for the sport in the region. It promotes awareness and growth.”
While there was no indication that Pacquiao would step in to the cage himself, he does own a series of gyms across Asia which all offer MMA classes and training areas. Pacquiao (56-5-2) will defend his WBO welterweight title in Macau on November 22 against Chris Algieri (20-0) of the US.
ONE FC is holding its inaugural fight card in Dubai, titled Reign of Champions, on August 29 and will break further ground in Cambodia two weeks later with a show called Rise of the Kingdom on September 12 at Koh Pich Theater.
Tickets for the event on Diamond Island are now on sale at the CTN station offices (along National Highway 5) from Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm (012 999 434) and at NagaWorld on Saturday and Sunday, 9am-12pm and 4-9pm (087 870 203). They will also be sold at a booth during MyTV’s Sunday MMA fight cards at the indoor hall of the Old Stadium.
Pricing brackets include VIP seats at $80 each, Gold at $50 and Silver at $20. Early purchase discounts, which will run out on August 18, will see these prices cut to $64, $25 and $10 respectively at all outlets.
A seating plan of the various sections of Koh Pich Theater can be found on the Rise of the Kingdom event page at www.onefc.com.
ONE FC are scheduled to next host an event in Pacquiao’s homeland on December 5 in Manila.