June 1, 2023

Filipino mixed martial arts pioneer and Team Lakay chair Mark Sangiao looks back on what has been a difficult year, not only for his team but also for all Filipinos in the country who suffered through the effects of Covid-19.

The 41-year-old who many consider a father and a brother has had to lead his team through hardship and defeat, while navigating a world filled with uncertainty.

“The year has been tough, good, and terrible at the same time. It’s been a mix of all things. On the positive side, we were able to spend more time with family and bond. Nature had to heal itself, and I’m sure we’ve all noticed how beautiful nature has flourished,” Sangiao said.

Team Lakay suffered a series of painful setbacks over the course of the past 12 months. Former ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang, former ONE bantamweight world champion Kevin Belingon, and rising star Lito Adiwang all fell in their respective match-ups.

It’s not the first time the team has had to deal with a string of losses, and Sangiao is confident they can bounce back.

“Of course, we have to make a few adjustments here and there. We had to deal with some lockdowns which made it difficult to train, but we made the necessary adjustments,” Sangiao said.

“I can’t guarantee the result of next year, but I can promise you we will try our best always. Every athlete wants to win, even our opponents, but there will always be two sides. We’ll try our best to get back on the winning side and stay there,” he added.

“The biggest lesson we learned this year is to cherish our loved ones. We have to show each other our love, because life is fleeting. We are never guaranteed tomorrow. Health is very important, and we have to take care of our bodies so we are healthy. Lastly, we have to trust in God and have faith,” Sangiao said.

As always, Sangiao will continue to lead the country’s premiere martial arts team into the New Year. – ONE release