Tuesday, November 29, 2011

UFC to stage card in the Philippines?

Source : Joey Villar Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – With the emergence of Mark "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" Munoz, the ambitious bid of holding an Ultimate Fighting Championship card here in the Philippines is being revived by the UFC and television giant ABS-CBN following failed attempts in the past.

"There's a chance the UFC will hold fights in the Philippines. The UFC is working it out with ABS-CBN and Balls, maybe next year," said Kevin Chang, UFC-Asia's senior director for media, at a press conference that was highlighted by the appearance of former two-division champion BJ Penn in Quezon City today.

Chang is here along with Penn, a two-division UFC champion (lightweight and welterweight), for a promotional tour set at 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Music Hall of Mall of Asia.

The UFC has already invaded Asia, with the world's premier mixed martial arts organization holding UFC 144 in Saitama, Japan – the first time such a card was staged in the region.

And if plans push through, the UFC could put Munoz, who is reportedly fighting top middleweight contender Chael Sonnen next year, in the prospective fight card here along with recent Manila visitor Brandon "The Truth" Vera.

The UFC has actually been thinking of holding bouts in the Phl as early as three years ago since top honcho Lorenzo Fertitta himself flew to the country to show their seriousness in making it happen.

While the plan didn't push through because of the global economic crisis then, the UFC kept treating Filipino fans by sending to the country popular fighters, including Vera, retired legend Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, reigning welterweight titlist George St. Pierre or GSP and now Penn.

And Penn, now on his second visit since coaching a pair of students in an international MMA fight held in the country eight years ago, is enjoying every minute of his short but meaningful stay in the country.

"I never got to go outside too much but it’s the same temperature and vibes here just like in Hawaii," said Penn, who signed autographs, took photo opportunities for fans and granted interviews with several media outlets.

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