Legend Fighting Championship announced Thursday that its
upcoming March 30 event will now take place at the AsiaWorld-Expo
in Hong Kong.
Originally expected to emanate from the Jakarta Convention Centre
in Jakarta, Indonesia,
Legend FC 8 will be headlined by a lightweight title clash
between defending champion Jadamba
Narantungalag and Yui Chul
According to the promotion’s official release, the event was
transplanted to Hong Kong out of necessity when Fransino
Tirta withdrew from the event due to illness. Replacing Tirta
in a featherweight title co-main event will be Chinese competitor
who meets Yusuke
Kawanago for the vacant championship.
“Fransino Tirta had originally been slated to headline Legend 8 in
Jakarta, Indonesia, but had to withdraw after an emergency
appendectomy [on] March 9,” Legend’s official statement reads.
“With Legend committed to giving Tirta the opportunity to be the
first Indonesian to fight for an international MMA championship in
his home country, Legend decided to move Legend 8 to Hong Kong.
After his recovery, Tirta will have the chance to fight in front of
his home audience when he challenges for the featherweight title at
Legend 10 in Jakarta in July.”
Legend FC was also the subject of a statement published Thursday by
Universal Reality Combat Championship. According to the
release, URCC founder Alvin Aguilar has filed three cases with the
Philippines’ Games and Amusements Board against Legend FC and its
co-founder and managing director, Michael Haskamp.
The URCC’s official statement alleges that Legend has engaged in
the “the illegal and unethical hiring of fighters under contract
with the URCC.” It also states the Hong Kong-based promotion has
brought “legally registered professional fighters outside [of the
Philippines] without complying with any of the GAB’s requirements,”
in addition to hiring trainers who are “blacklisted and unlicensed
by the GAB.”
Aguilar then followed the allegations with a comment: “These
foreigners think they can just come in and disregard the rules of
our country and take advantage of our countrymen and our efforts to
promote Filipino MMA fighters around the world. Now that Philippine
MMA is mainstream because of the URCC’s efforts, all sorts of
foreigners are trying to make a quick buck off the efforts of our
countrymen. They even blatantly said that everyone is for sale here
in our country. Well I’m sorry to say that we are not and this
commission definitely is not for sale. I have personally dealt with
[the GAB] for 10 years, and they never asked me for a dime! They
will learn to respect the rules here, [and] all of the so-called
Filipinos that supposedly support them (if any) should be hung up
on a tree alongside these foreigners. As the founder of
professional mixed martial arts in the Philippines, I am duty-bound
to protect my fighters and ensure that all the laws regarding and
protecting them are followed. We will not stand by and let these
foreigners take advantage of anyone here. If ever I do meet them,
they will also learn the true meaning of ‘Bakbakan na!’”
It remains unclear what type of ramifications Legend FC could face.
The GAB serves in a similar capacity to American athletic
commissions and has the power to ban the Hong Kong-based promotion
from coming to the Philippines, but its jurisdiction does not
extend beyond the Philippine border. To-date, Legend has only held
shows in Hong Kong and Macau.
When reached for comment, Legend co-founder Haskamp declined to
respond to Aguilar’s statement, asserting that he was waiting to
hear from the GAB regarding any official allegations.
“For now, I can only say that we’re disappointed that Mr. Aguilar
has decided to take this action without speaking with us directly,”
Haskamp told Sherdog.com. “Legend’s top priorities are fighter
safety, fairness and promoting MMA across the Asia-Pacific region.
We have had and always will have fighter well-being and the
integrity of the sport as our top priorities.”