Big-ticket martial arts fights have been opened for Filipino combat athletes with the imminent expansion of the fast-growing Professional Fighters League in Asia.
PFL senior vice president Loren Mack said the US-based fight promotion will soon open its doors to Asian fighters, including Filipinos.
“There’s no fight fans like the Filipino fight fans, so we’re in discussion with a few fighters there. We’re keeping our eyes open for the next big stars to emerge out of the Philippines,” said Mack in an interview with PTV Sports.
And that possibility could be as early as this year.
“You’ll see Filipino fighters in the PFL, maybe several, as we’re closing in on getting somebody to represent the Philippines in PFL in 2023,” Mack added.
The PFL is preparing to conduct an Asian tour and bring with them some of the rising stars, including Biaggio Ali Walsh, grandson of boxing great Muhamad Ali.
“I know he’s (Walsh) is excited to visit Philippines, Indonesia, Japan and others,” said Mack.
PFL co-founder and president Ray Sefo, a former MMA and muay thai world champion, confirmed the expansion plan in an interview by Malaysia’s New Strait Times.
“South East Asia is actually a huge market when it comes to MMA, especially countries like Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia,” Sefo told NST.
PFL, which has a large following in the US and Europe, is the second biggest global MMA organization after UFC, which has been drawing flak as of late due to players’ complaints about fight purses and benefits.
The Singapore-based ONE Championship has large following in Southeast Asia and most parts of Asia.
Sefo also confirmed Mack’s statements that some fighters from Asia could be tapped for future PFL promotions and mentioned fighters from China, Japan, Thailand and Philippines.