Mark “The Machine” Sangiao is not only the head coach of Team Lakay. He is also a father figure to some of the team’s fighters including Danny “The King” Kingad, 22, who is now one of the rising stars of ONE Championship.
In the world of combat sports, a few prizefighters have found father figures with the likes of Manny Pacquiao in Freddie Roach and Mike Tyson in Cus D’Amato. Hailing from Baguio City, Philippines, Kingad was fortunate enough to have an invaluable mentor and a second father in the person of Sangiao.
“I cannot reach my true potential without proper guidance,” Kingad stated. “But with Coach Mark, I feel like anything is possible.”
For Kingad, having a coach like Sangiao is one of the most important parts of his career. The Team Lakay head coach has become an instantly recognizable name in the Philippine MMA scene because of the big number of successful homegrown talents that it has produced since its inception in 2003.
Located at an elevation of 4,300 feet above sea level in the mountains of La Trinidad, Benguet, Team Lakay has been recognized as one of Asia’s elite mixed martial arts camps, spawning remarkable Filipino athletes such as Kingad, Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, Joshua Pacio, Gina Iniong and April Osenio.
Kingad and Sangiao have a close relationship. It was the MMA trainer who gave the young Filipino a much-needed direction at a time in his life when it was heading off the rails.
“The great thing about Coach Mark is that he has so much experience, and a lot of stories to share that we all learn from,” Kingad shared. “I have taken that to heart. A lot of the values I live by, I have learned from Coach Mark. He has been a major influence in my life.”
Kingad continued to develop as a person and a competitive mixed martial artist with Sangiao by his side. The Team Lakay fighter said, “Coach Mark is like a second father to me because he does not just teach me what he knows about martial arts.”
“He also gives me advice in my personal life and how to be a better person,” Kingad said of Sangiao. “He has taught me a lot, and I have learned so much from him, like how to deal with criticism, how to conduct myself in public, to give respect to everybody, and of course, how to live like a true martial artist.”
Now, Kingad is focused on becoming an elite MMA fighter in ONE Championship as he has made enormous strides towards achieving his goal to be one of the top flyweights in the world today. Following his defeat at the hands of then-ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes in November 2017, Kingad was determined to rebuild his self-confidence and further develop his grappling skills.
In Kingad’s subsequent two victories, he displayed those newfound aspects of his game. He showed an impressive all-around performance against Chinese prospect Ma Hao Bin in June 2018 in Macau, China. Now, the Team Lakay fighter tries to build some momentum towards a second crack at the ONE Flyweight World Championship.
For Kingad, his journey to MMA success would not have been possible without the guidance of one selfless man. Here is a clip from one of his previous ONE Championship bouts: