The MMA bout between actors Kiko Matos and Baron Geisler at “URCC Fight Night” on June 25, 2016 had two significant impacts on mixed martial arts in the Philippines. Positively, it raised awareness on MMA in the country but negatively, not all MMA fans supported it.
For the longest time, Filipinos have been avid fans of boxing, thanks to Manny Pacquiao and all the Filipino boxing legends who came before him. Compared to boxing, little was known about MMA in the country until 2016.
On the flip side though, some Filipino MMA fans and fighters were against the decision of the Universal Reality Combat Championship to make the fight between Matos and Geisler the main event of “URCC Fight Night” in 2016. For the critics, it was disrespect to the combat sport.
Matos is making his URCC return on Aug. 12 at the Araneta Coliseum at “URCC: XXX.” At the “URCC: XXX” press conference on July 25 at the Winford Hotel and Casino in Manila, I asked URCC founder Alvin Aguilar about the controversial bout between Matos and Geisler.
Aguilar explained that the URCC started underground. Today, there will no longer be underground fights and fighters do not have to fight on the streets anymore because the URCC has provided the proper platform for these fighters to showcase their skills.
“A lot of people say we disrespected MMA,” Aguilar told me. “Well, they just say that. I mean, Kiko and Baron trained their asses off for that.”
After “URCC Fight Night,” Matos continued training and at the “URCC: XXX” press conference, it was announced that his opponent may be Billy Jack Sanchez. The latter became known to Filipino MMA fans because of his viral video, in which he was calling out Matos and Geisler.
“I’m all about making people’s dreams come true also,” Aguilar said. He acknowledged Sanchez’s efforts to promote himself online and appear at the “URCC: XXX” press conference.
One thing Aguilar promised to MMA fans is that “URCC: XXX” is going to be one of the best shows of URCC ever. The upcoming event also marks Mark “Mugen” Striegl’s URCC return. Watch my full interview with Aguilar here: