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Eduard Folayang bids goodbye to Team Lakay

Eduard Folaying is leaving Team Lakay after almost 17 years. Rick Dela Cruz (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--One of the pillars of Team Lakay is leaving the fabled martial arts stable.

In an announcement on Friday that probably rocked the Philippine mixed martial arts community, Eduard Folayang has bid farewell to the Baguio-based MMA club after nearly 17 years.

"For the last 16 years of my professional career as a mixed martial artist, I was in the company of brave and talented individuals in Team Lakay. This stable was a large element in what I have become and the stature I have arrived at in our beloved sport... But as the oft saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Sadly, and with a heavy heart, my journey with Team Lakay has reached its final stretch," Folayang's statement reads.

The former URCC and ONE Championship lightweight champion believes him leaving Lakay could give him an opportunity to improve his skills as an MMA fighter.

"I believe there are still a few things I must accomplish in what remains in my active years as an athlete. The profession I have chosen requires me to learn, evolve, and grow. In order for me to achieve this, I must step out of my comfort zone and discover new ways to foster my development as a martial artist," Folayang continued.

Folayang has lost his last five MMA fights and seven of his last eight since losing the ONE lightweight belt to Shinya Aoki in 2019.

The losing streak has sparked speculations among fans if the 39-year-old Folayang should consider retiring from the game, but the veteran insisted in recent interviews that he is not yet inclined of doing so.

Meanwhile, he thanked the entire Lakay stable especially chief trainer Mark Sangiao for the time spent together.

Folayang was among the pioneering members of Team Lakay when Sangiao founded it in 2006.

"Words will not suffice to aptly impart how grateful I am for our camaraderie that has led to our achievements and victories inside the Circle, as well as the heartbreaks that have driven us to keep going in pursuit of our ultimate goal. I will forever cherish every moment like a precious treasure... I extend my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to Team Lakay. I wish no less than the best for Coach Mark Sangiao and everyone under his wing. This is not a goodbye, but so long for now," Folayang continued.

He concluded by vowing, "I realize this will not be easy. But I hold onto the promise that the race is not given to the swift or to the strong, but to the one who patiently and determinedly endures to the end. Yes, we shall rise again."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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