As Filipino fighter Eduard Folayang enters a new yet crucial phase of his professional career as a mixed martial artist, he has garnered a vote of confidence from Games and Amusement Chairman Richard Clarin.
Folayang paid a courtesy call on Clarin on March 22, or several days after he and former ONE flyweight world champion Joshua Pacio travelled to the United States for training.
Folayang shared he and Clarin touched on several topics during their meeting, including his future plans as a competitor and the current framework of mixed martial arts in the country.
“I am thrilled that we had a smooth conversation with Chairman Clarin. I felt how welcoming GAB is, which signifies a good sign for all professional athletes,” Folayang said.
“We were also assured by the chairman himself that he would listen to our concerns and safeguard our welfare. In fact, they even said that GAB’s function doesn’t stop at handing out licenses,” he added.
GAB, as the local regulatory body of professional sports, has already laid out several plans to nurture the growth of MMA in the Philippines.
One of them is a coordinated effort by GAB and the sport’s stakeholders to establish an official ranking system for fighters.
Folayang believed Clarin’s vision for MMA in the Philippines would benefit all sectors of the industry, not just himself and his fellow homegrown talents strutting their wares under the ONE Championship banner.
“The fact that there are people like Chairman Clarin who have opened doors and do not have second thoughts to listen to us, is heartwarming. He wants to remind us of our rights as professional athletes,” the pride of Sadanga, Mountain Province said.
In early March, Folayang announced his departure from Team Lakay, ending his 16-year relationship with the stable that he helped build from the ground up.
At the time of his exit, many wondered where he could be headed as Folayang received numerous invitations from notable names such as former rival Martin Nguyen and women’s MMA pioneer Cris Justino.
Folayang revealed he would be exploring training overseas alongside Pacio.
“That’s the target – to fly to the States, visit several gyms over there, and maximize all the opportunities we’ll get to elevate our skills,” he said. – ONE release