Header Ads Widget

A fight night inside a school fair

Two fighters get ready for their match at Battle Royale 5. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

LOS BAÑOS--The number of people who think an MMA event can be done inside a school may be close to zero.

However, a certain student organization made it a reality.

The UPLB Chapter of the Beta Sigma Fraternity put up an MMA event inside the said university's campus called "Battle Royale".

What was once an advocacy against hazing has become one of CALABARZON's biggest MMA fight nights among upstart practitioners and a special highlight of UPLB's own version of the UP Fair.

"Nag-isip kami ng event para ma-showcase yung tradition namin of martial artists being martial artists," said Karl Carreon, the head organizer of Battle Royale, on how the event was conceptualized after the successful staging of its fifth edition at the Baker Hall on Friday night.

On why the brotherhood decided to stage the event on every Friday of the UP Fair week since 2012 and how it evolved into an anticipated one, Carreon answered, "Marketing strategy na isabay siya sa Feb Fair (how the UPLB community calls its own UP Fair), and fifth year na rin naman, so dapat naman talaga palaki nang palaki ang ganitong klaseng event."

As a testament to how Battle Royale became bigger over the years, two female fighters, one of them a foreigner, took centerstage in one of eight fights scheduled for Friday. Andrea Ericson, the foreign player, would beat Cristina Conrado in the said distaff match via split decision.

"Actually gusto ko talaga na ganun yung caliber or quality ng mga fighters na lalaban or sasali sa Battle Royale," Carreon explained the inclusion of Ericson, now based in San Pablo, in the card.

In fact, Carreon also revealed that more fights should have been scheduled for this year's staging only that the pugs involved in the canceled matches opted to give a big MMA stage a try.

"Actually, may mga fighters kami na lalaban dapat [tonight], pero di sila nakasali kasi may qualifiers ng One FC," he particularly said.

But while Battle Royale has somewhat gained attention of One, Carreon reiterated, "We're not yet planning to tie up with other leagues. Alone [muna] kami."

Unlike One and other major MMA outfits that stage their fights inside a circular or an octagonal cage, the matches are being played inside a boxing ring like the case of K-1. Also, Battle Royale claims to be an amateur tournament.

Nineteen-year-old Jomar Manlangit won the main event of the fight card, scoring a standing rear-naked choke submission win over 26-year-old Jovanie Bualan, and the youngster said that he is open to joining the big ranks in the future.

"Oo. May plano akong lumaban sa Manila," Manlangit said after his victory.

On the other hand, Carreon said that more surprises are in store for the sixth installment of Battle Royale next year.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno