Filipinos have been avid fans of boxing long before Manny Pacquiao became an eight-division boxing champion. Before the Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) fight between Kiko Matos and Baron Geisler became controversial in the Philippines in 2016, many Filipinos were clueless about mixed martial arts.
URCC was criticized for including actors like Matos and Geisler, who were not professional MMA fighters, in the fight card of “URCC Fight Night” in 2016. For critics, it was disrespectful to the sport.
But what critics do not point out is the fact that the URCC fight between Matos and Geisler helped introduce MMA to the Filipinos. It is a controversy on the surface but it cannot be denied that it helped attract more fans to follow the sport and more athletes to get involved in the sport.
In a sit-down interview on July 6, I asked Matos how he wanted Filipinos to remember the controversial fight with Geisler. Matos simply said people are free to remember it the way they want to.
Matos said he can tell how people should remember the URCC fight with Geisler but what really matters, he said, is that the fight had an impact on the people. It would be disappointing if the two actors, who were not professional MMA fighters, exerted effort to train and fight in the cage and no one paid attention, Matos said.
Fortunately, Filipinos paid attention both negatively and negatively. Regardless, the fight between Matos and Geisler will always be part of MMA history in the Philippines.
After all, URCC was founded by Alvin Aguilar, the Father of Philippine Mixed Martial Arts. After “URCC Fight Night,” the URCC big boss made yet another daring decision.
On Aug. 12, Matos will fight another controversial fighter, Billy Jack Sanchez, at “URCC: XXX.” The latter became known to the Filipino MMA community due to his viral video, in which he called out Matos and Geisler for an MMA match.
Watch my interview with Matos here: