Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao is content about the progress that Philippine mixed martial arts has made, especially with the newest ONE Championship project the country is involved with.
The biggest martial arts reality TV show in the country is finally set to debut this Sunday, September 18, at 9:35 PM, as Globe’s ONE Warrior Series Philippines hits airwaves on GTV and ONE’s online properties – the ONE Super App and watch.onefc.com.
Sixteen of the most promising mixed martial artists from all over the Philippines will be competing for a $100,000 contract to compete in ONE Championship as a Team Lakay fighter, making this the most prestigious martial arts reality TV show in the country.
“Two decades ago when I was actively fighting, MMA was a foreign word in the Philippines. No one was talking about it, unlike boxing. There was no support, no headlines in the papers,” Sangiao said.
“Now, MMA is as noisy as boxing, or even more. We can see many MMA events, promotions, teams, and MMA athletes all around the country.”
Sangiao will mentor all of the athletes, while the 16 fighters will be equally distributed to two teams led by ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and fomer ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio.
Pacio will lead Team Passion while Eustaquio leads Team Gravity through various challenges like the Warrior Challenge, which will test the athletes’ speed, strength, and endurance.
This will lead to the Circle Showdown, a sparring session which will help the coaches determine who stays and who goes in each episode.
For Sangiao, such a project only goes to show how far Philippine mixed martial arts has come since he started Team Lakay back in 2017, and he’s grateful to have been part of it every step of the way.
“I feel very happy and fulfilled that the sport flourished to something like this, and I guarantee it will be more popular in the future. I’m gratified that me and Team Lakay were there when it started from nothing and [we] are still here thriving alongside the sport,” he said.