After banner year, URCC begins global invasion with San Francisco event

URCC president Alvin Aguilar bared the promotion's plans for 2017. URCC
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—Despite two globally known MMA organizations staging events in the Philippines at least twice a year with two more already holding fight cards here too, the URCC braved the "storm" and had a successful 2016.

"This is an excellent year for the URCC—one of our best years ever. Our events had 14 million social media impressions. We're the top-rated MMA show on TV. The exposure our fighters are getting because of our tie-up with ABSCBN is just awesome," said President Alvin Aguilar to some sportswriters after the staging of the promotion's final event for 2016, the URCC 28 at the Marriott Grand Ballroom early Monday.

For him, however, this is "just Phase 1."

After reaffirming its status as the Philippines' number one MMA league, the URCC is set to take over the world as it will begin 2017 with its first overseas event, the URCC 29 in San Francisco, USA on Jan. 8 (Philippine Time).

"It's high time we make the URCC a global brand," continued Aguilar, one of the pioneering Philippine MMA stars during his heyday.

Three of the four fighters who won in their respective title fights at URCC 28, men's flyweight champ CJ De Tomas, women's flyweight titleholder Geli Bulaong, and newly-crowned middleweight king Chris Hofmann, will defend their belts in San Francisco.

So far, only De Tomas' opponent is known.

"One of the big tough fighters there in San Francisco—his name is Derrick Easterling—is gonna face CJ," Aguilar told some details about De Tomas' next foe.

A win by De Tomas, who moved up to 7-0 with his victory at URCC 28, in January could spark a successful international career awaiting him.

"If CJ beats him, that means he's on his way to become a top-caliber fighter in a world scale," Aguilar further said.

Meanwhile, even if the URCC is just starting to hype URCC 29 in San Francisco, Aguilar said that the promotion is already gearing up for another international event, a fight card in Beijing in March.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno