The top celebrity athletes of the Philippines will be honored at the 2018 Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) Hall of Fame Awards, which will be held on July 31, 2018 at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, Metro Manila. This will be the first edition of the sports awards ceremony.
Among the awardees are 11-time world boxing champion Senator Manny Pacquiao for boxing, Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez for fencing, Makati 1st District Representative Monsour del Rosario for taekwondo and Senator Miguel Zubiri for arnis. Actors Baron Geisler and Kiko Matos, who made headlines with their impromptu cage match on June 25, 2016, also earned a citation as the URCC’s first celebrity fighters.
The URCC played a key role in popularizing mixed martial arts in the Philippines, kicking off its inaugural event at the Casino Filipino Ampitheater in Paranaque City, Metro Manila on November 23, 2002. Founded by Filipino Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Alvin Aguilar, the promotion has since become a breeding ground for world-class Filipino fighters who have charted their own respective legacies in the global MMA arena.
This year, URCC markes its foray towards global domination with the creation of URCC Global, spearheaded by its new chairman Arnold Vegafria. Under its strengthened leadership, the organization hopes to penetrate the Southeast Asian region and forge long-term partnerships with its Asian affiliates, and eventually assemble a contingent of iconic fighters willing to compete head on with their Caucasian counterparts.
Vegafria was with Pacquiao at the MP Productions event “Fight of Champions” at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 15, 2018. During the event, Pacquiao became the new World Boxing Association Regular Welterweight Champion by knocking out Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse, 35, of Argentina at 2:43 of Round 7.
The URCC Hall of Fame Awards is a prestigious black-tie event envisioned to honor the organization’s best and brightest luminaries. Expected VIP guests include former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Frank Shamrock and International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) President Kerrith Brown.
Meanwhile, here is a short interview with Vegafria prior to the boxing match between Pacquiao and Matthysse: