Eight-division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao is finally dipping his toes in to the world of MMA, but not as a fighter as many may have hoped. ‘Pac Man’ has bought stakes in Japanese MMA promotion One FC, as it appears that the welterweight pugilist is hoping to branch out. It is not yet known how much of the company Pacquiao owns, but the One FC CEO Victor Cui seems happy.
Speaking to Yahoo Sports, who first broke the story, Cui says this means big things for the budding Asian MMA organization:
“There are a ton of reasons why I’m pretty excited about this. Obviously, Manny Pacquiao is a global sports icon and having him as a part of our organization as a shareholder and promoting One FC and promoting the sport is huge for the sport in the region. It promotes awareness and growth.”
“There are a lot of common fans and common ties with MMA and boxing [in the Philippines] and MMA awareness is much stronger than it is in other parts of Asia, Manny has been looking for some opportunities outside of boxing, and he and his team have kept an eye on the sport of MMA. It made a lot of sense to him. “
Originally hailing from the Philippines, ‘Pac Man’ has a huge Asian following behind him. Perhaps this news will be the start of One FC growing in to the global market to compete with the UFC. Now aged 35, and having been a pro boxer since 1995, Pacquiao may well be looking more towards his own working future too.
Sporting such talent as Shinya Aoki, Ben Askren, Melvin Manhoef and Roger Huerta, the promotion is yet to really break on to the worldwide scene. Having one of the biggest names in modern boxing will likely see a boost in interest for the organization, but will it be enough to compete with the big boys?