URCC Cebu 7: Bakbakan na!

MMA champ Eduard Folayang with Alvin Aguilar and Renault Lao (Photo: www.urccmma.com)

If you think boxing is bloody, watch mixed martial arts (MMA). With its ruthlessness and savagery, it makes boxing look like a ballet recital.

I watched last Friday. It was my first. Sure, boxing is noisy and full of energy—but you ought to see the Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC).

It’s today’s Gladiator. Heavy metal music blasts off the speakers. A live band head-bangs. Everybody—including Ironman champ Noy Jopson—drinks beer. That’s Colt 45. The ring announcer—the excellent Bo Orellaneda, formerly with Y101—screams just like Joe Rogan. And the spectators… they’re younger, wilder, louder and more sadistic than the ALA Boxing audience.

The referee? After both fighters are ready to pounce, he shouts the famous line… BAKBAKAN NA!!!!

Then, they’re off. Like two pit bulls who’ve been hungered since Christmas, they’re ready to ravish. They batter each other’s faces. The elbow is not used for protection—but as a hammer to pound on the enemy’s open face. And, once a man is down, the other would swoop like a mad dog. He’d hop on top to punch and pelt and stab.

It’s animalistic. It’s legalized street-fighting. It’s no-holds-barred. Also, quite often, it ends very fast. Take the first fight: Alde de Soza won in Round 1 via the famous “Kimura Lock.” The battle was over in a few seconds.

That’s the beauty of this sport. As brutal as we see it on UFC, it’s also ended quickly if danger is sensed. Tap-tap-tap. That’s when the opponent taps-out to signal his surrender.

As cannibalistic and lethal as this sport is, that’s what makes it safe. The quick tap-out. If one is unable to sustain the pain, the response is easy: Tap-tap-tap. As soon as the referee sees that, the fight ends.

Still, it’s bloody. It’s vicious. Yet, the crowd is as happy as I’ve seen it of any sport. It brings out the fighting instinct of the predominantly-male crowd.

The best fight at CICC that night? No contest: the Cary “The Prince” Bullos vs. Rex de Lara bout. Almost all other fights (there were a total of eight) were finished in Round One. This ended up nearly the same way. Bullos nearly lost as he was choked by de Lara. The crowd gasped. Their local favorite (from Lapu-Lapu City) was near defeat. But he persisted. In Round 2, he swiftly performed the guillotine choke.

Tap-tap-tap. Bullos resurrects and wins! The crowd screams.

The most spectacular moment? Roel Rosauro’s “put to sleep” move on Arnel Ylanan. How? With just seconds left before the first round (there are only two rounds per fight; each round has 10 minutes), he jumped, spun a 360-degree move and, with his fist in high-speed motion, he pummeled the face of the blindsided enemy. “Spinning back fist,” it’s called and, instantaneously, Ylanan fell. Game over.

The main event? As a novice, I had not heard of Eduard Folayang until last week. Well, he’s a rockstar of the sport. He’s their Paeng N.; their Bata R. He’s massive. Not only was Folayang’s upper-body well-defined and bulky, but his legs—“they’re like VECO posts,” said Jingo.

Facing him one-on-one, you’d get scared. I bet that’s how Wadson Teixeira felt when they met. Standing in front of each other, even before “Bakbakan Na!” was shouted, it was a no-contest. It ended in 56 seconds. Folayang sat atop the fallen enemy and just pounded him, peppered him, barraged him with fists and elbows until the Thailand-based Brazilian was unconscious in Mandaue.

Given his build, strength and VECO-post-like legs, I wonder how he’ll do in the US, for example, fighting the likes of Frankie Edgar or Jose Aldo. Pardon my ignorance but imagine a Baguio City fighter in Las Vegas?

Among the full capacity crowd, it was good to see Jesse Bernad, Harry Radaza, Richard Sharpe, Judge Charina Quijano, my former editor (and MMA expert and judge) Paul Taneo…

Congratulations to Renault Lao who, despite the busiest party week (he owns The Loft and Penthouse), organized URCC 7. My only complaint?

Why only one URCC event each year? Cebu salivates to see more.

Categorized as MMA

From dancing to chess, Cebu is the world-record city

Pit Señor! To all balikbayans and guests visiting our beloved and historic Sugbu… maayong pag-abot… welcome!

Cebu City is not only known for hosting the country’s biggest festival—the Sinulog—that dances off the streets this weekend. Cebu City is not only home to the nation’s oldest avenue: Colon Street. It not only boasts of such iconic landmarks as the Fuente Osmeña, the Magellan’s Cross and the newly-renovated Plaza Independencia. Cebu is the World Record City.

In sports, we own the title of the world’s largest-ever dance group. Back in June 2009, a total of 7,770 dancers congregated inside the Cebu City Sports Center to boogie, waltz, do the samba and swing, to twist and turn.

From SunStar Cebu

Thanks to Edward and Eleanor Hayco, the couple who lead the dancesport fever in this island, our city owns the title, “Largest Dance Class in the World.”

Later this week—on Jan. 21 and 22—another Guinness World Record will be added to our resume; only this time, it’s the sweat-less but mind-exercising game played on a checkered board with 64 squares.

Would you believe, a record 40,000 players will play chess. Yes, no misprint there: Forty thousand!

“The idea started when we were invited to the Shell Active Chess competition and we saw 500 players,” said Ed Hayco, who leads the Cebu City Sports Commission as chairman. “There were kids as young as 8. We saw one playing with good players over their 30s! I don’t know if the 8-year-old won but he was giving the 30-yr.-old a hard time.”

Thanks to chess patron Boogie Lim and several other chess aficionados, Ed and his CCSC team felt passionate about this sport of Garry Kasparov and Bobby Fischer.

“We planned to organize a monthly chess tournament at the Sports Institute to sharpen the competence of these kids, many of whom come from public schools,” said Ed. “To kick off the idea, we thought of doing a Guinness record to create awareness.”

But Ed had a problem. The world record, owned by Russia, said that they had 1,240 participants.

“Cebu only had a thousand players,” he said. “Where will we get the other 300 players to beat the record? So we partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd) to hit two birds with one stone. Instead of just aiming to break the record, we instead use the Guinness Record to excite the public school kids to learn, play and compete in chess.”

And so from 1,300, the number ballooned to…..  40,000. How is that jump possible? “We have labored for two months providing seminars to public school teachers, PE, MAPE, PESS, and sports coordinators to teach, coach and conduct chess tourneys,” said Ed. “After those two months, the teachers were given another two months to train the kids.”

After the chess tutorials, the students joined tournaments. It was limited to within their classrooms. Then, it was elevated to the whole school. Next, it’s the record attempt.

“What will happen on Jan 21/22 is the finals,” said Ed. “Each public school will send 32 school-wide finalists. We expect 100 public schools to send and that would make 3,000 finalists. The Guinness World Record is based on the total participants, from classroom-based to school-wide to the finalists over a three month period. That’s how we’ll achieve the 40,000 total.”

This grassroots strategy is the expertise of Mr. Hayco and his CCSC team. It’s how Ed was able to convince tens of thousands of children—many of them out-of-school youth—to do the foxtrot, tango and dance to “Mambo No. 5.”

The best part? This is not a one-time, after-this-week-let’s-forget-about-chess program. “We have prepared 2,000 chess boards for Jan. 21 and 22,” said Ed. “The public school teachers will bring home the chess boards so they can continue the program. We plan to sustain this by a bi-monthly tournament in all public schools. This should be able to sustain the interest, and hopefully, we will find grandmaster kids from one of our lesser barangays, who may give Cebu a shot for the Olympic gold in 2020!”

Thank you, Rico

Just wanted to share with you the inspiring words that came out today in The Freeman. Written by Rico Navarro, a lifelong sportsman who joined the 21K of the Cebu City Marathon, here’s his column that appears today, Jan. 15. BTW, to all… PIT SENYOR!!!!!

Read the article here.

Has MMA outkicked the sport of boxing?

The world of boxing is lucky. There’s Manny Pacquiao. Without him, who’d be the superstar? Other sports have plenty. There’s Lionel Messi, Usain Bolt, Novak Djokovic; there’s LBJ and KB; there’s Michael Phelps.

Boxing? Take out our Pinoy pride and there’s no more Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield. Wasn’t boxing centered on the heavyweights? Yes. It was. Yes, that’s the past tense. Because heavyweight-superstars have disappeared.

Mixed martial arts? I confess, years back, to switching channels when the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was shown on SkyCable’s Balls channel. It was too bloody. Muscled men hugged and exchanged embraces. Someone was sure to die from this!!!

But, as time passed and superstar names like Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, BJ Penn, Brock Lesnar and, now, Jon “Bones” Jones appeared, I’ve gotten to like the MMA. In fact, I’ve gotten to really like the UFC. I’m just as excited to watch an upcoming Gladiator-like UFC contest as I am in watching tennis or running.

Tomorrow, Friday, I’ll finally get the chance to watch this sport in person. Together with my neighbor on this page, Atty. Jingo Quijano, I’ll be at the CICC for the URCC-Cebu 7. URCC stands for Universal Reality Combat Championship and the event is entitled, “Dominate.”

“Undefeated kickboxing star Renante ‘Limbas’ Noblefranca of Yaw-Yan ArDigma has vowed a swift knockout victory as he faces Brazilian Jiu-jitsu specialist Jonathan Sumugat,” wrote my fellow sportswriter from The Freeman, Lemuel Maglinte, himself a mixed-martial artist. “It will be a battle between a striker and a grappler as Noblefranca, who is known for his deadly ‘spinning back fist’, will try to assert his mastery in kickboxing against the Davao City-native Sumugat, a gold medallist in the 2010 Pan-Asia Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Open.”

Noblefranca, only 19, has fought 28 times (wow, how old did he start, at 12 years old?). Last year at the 6th edition of the URCC-Cebu, he won a first round TKO.

“Yaw-Yan Cebu ArDigma CEO/Founder and Vis-Min director Master Benigno “Ekin” R. Caniga, Jr. expressed his confidence not only to Noblefranca but also to his other two boys that will be showing their stuff in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) card. They are Geronimo Etac and Roel Rosauro,” continued Lemuel in his story. “Etac will challenge URCC Visayas pinweight title-holder Victor Torre of Bacolod City , while Rosauro will figure in a grudge rematch of sort against Arnel Ylanan of Mandaue’s Bullet Fighting System.”

Blessings for a CCM ‘sun’ day last Sunday

Thank you, Lord! When the rains deluged Cebu last Saturday night, we were worried. Rain is good. It usually is. But not during a major outdoor event like a marathon. But, thanks to His divine plan, the stormy weather stopped at 3 A.M. and the skies cleared (even from the scorching sun—perfect for the runners!) the entire day. Thanks to….

CERC. It’s called volunteerism. Members of the Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC)—led by our president Roy Trani—have to be lauded for the many months of preparation.

KENNETH CASQUEJO. Among the CERC members, none worked harder than Kenneth, the man behind the race-organizing company Run Check. Kenneth handled the bulk of the operations—from helping in the Registration to heading the Race Expo to delivering many of the supplies (water, bananas, Pocari Sweat). Good job, Ken!

UC. The biggest contingent was from the University of Cebu. When I met Atty. Gus Go two months ago, he promised that his students will join. They did. Numbering 2,000, they crowded the streets. Special thanks to UC’s top officials Bernard Ricablanca and Emerson Subong.

BOYING. Seven days ago, I received this SMS message: “Do you still need extra help? Although I am registered, won’t be able to run. Crashed my bike and sprained my wrist and ankle. Not being able to run will be frustrating but at least helping out and being part of it will ease the pain.” The sender? Top sportsman Boying Rodriguez, who helped last Sunday at the Plaza Independencia.

SRP. By motorcycle, I was able to tour the CCM route. The best spot was the South Road Properties. The climate was cool. Both lanes were closed to vehicular traffic. The sunlight emerged from the waters off Bohol. Thousands of brave runners mustered the courage to fight their fatigue and run.

TUNNEL. Among the 14 water stations that provided hydration, one of the best areas—manned by CERC’s Dodong Sulatre—was the tunnel. Two “higantes” entertained the runners. Free massage was offered. Cold water spray was splashed on the faces. Loud music boomed. Perfect.

12 NOON. Eight hours after we released the 42K runners at 4 A.M., the last runner, Francis Velasquez of Cagayan de Oro, arrived barefoot. He ran without shoes (to raise funds for the victims of Sendong) the entire route. We gave his wife the finisher’s medal as she donned it on him at the Finish; they kissed and hugged as we applauded.

JIGGY. Arriving just minutes before Francis was Jiggy Cerna who succumbed to leg cramps at Km. 22. Imagine limping the remainder of the way—that’s 20 more kms.—just to finish. That’s perseverance. Jiggy’s wife, Chay, who finished the 21K, patiently waited at the I.T. Park. What a gallant effort from the voice behind Y101.

MAYOR. Proclaiming during the Press Conference that a healthy body is a prerequisite for a strong mind, Mayor Mike Rama joined the 5K. He wore jersey number “1.” Councilor Edgar Labella, a long-distance runner, also ran.

CITOM. Nearly 100 traffic enforcers engulfed the city of Cebu last Sunday. With most of the roads closed to provide a safe passageway for the participants, CITOM played a most crucial role. CITOM Chairman Jack Jakosalem and executive director Raffy Yap: thanks!

YAYOY AND ED. To Cebu City Councilor Raul Alcoseba, who spearheads the Committee on Sports, his backing for the prize money was invaluable. So was the support of CCSC chairman Edward Hayco.

FIRE BRIGADE. Led by one of my closest buddies, Wilton Uykingtian, the Cebu Filipino Chinese Volunteer Fire Brigade helped cool the heating bodies of the runners. They were at Fuente Osmeña. They showered water at the SRP.

MEDICAL. In an event covering 42 kms. in scope, medical response is most essential. The CERC is blessed to have many doctor/members. Thanks to our fellow CERC member Dr. Rosan Trani, we were able to enlist 10 more groups who spread themselves all over the route. Dr. Wyben Briones was one volunteer. He was stationed at KM. 36 in Gen. Maxilom Ave. Thanks to the All Terrain Medical Relief Organization (AMRO).

Cebu Executive Runners Club (CERC)

Minutes after the last runner arrived at 12 noon (check the 42K clock: 8 hours, 5 minutes), members of the organizing group, CERC, gathered for that victory-party photo

Congratulations, CCM runners!

To all those who participated and finished the Cebu City Marathon yesterday, January 8… CONGRATS!!! All the months and weeks of hard work on the road have paid off… and you must be resting those legs and knees and recuperating. There’s no better feeling than seeing that finish line and crossing it. See you all next year!