ONE Championship: The Machine to Master Mentor - Team Lakay's Mark Sangiao has no regrets in exchanging fighting for coaching

Santino Honasan on Nov 26, 2018 11:42 AM
Sangiao has no regrets in exchanging fighting for coaching
"Nakikita ko lang yung mga belt dito, worth it na. Feeling ko champion na din ako," - Mark Sangiao

During the post-fight press conference for ONE: Conquest of Champions last Friday, Novemeber 23rd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao was asked a pretty interesting question. 

"Coach, you sacrificed your professional fighting career para makapag-focus sa mga katulad ni Eduard [Folayang]. Ngayon na nakikita niyo yung mga world title na nasa lamesa. Do you think worth it yung pag-give up [ng fighting career?]" 

Sangiao had just coached one of his closest wards in Eduard Folayang back to the ONE Lightweight World Championship. Before that, Sangiao spent much of his 2018 coaching three other Team Lakay stars in Geje Eustaquio, Joshua Pacio, and Kevin Belingon into their own world championship runs. 

All four of the champions were present during the press conference, and their big gold belts provided enough gleam to light up the whole press room. 

So for Sangiao, his response was quick and simple, and likely very easy.  

"Nakikita ko lang yung mga belt dito, worth it na. Feeling ko champion na din ako," he said with a gigantic smile, as the four ONE Championship world titles sat in front of him. 

Prior to becoming Team Lakay's master mentor and a Coach of the Year awardee, Mark "The Machine" Sangiao was one hell of a fighter. 

A former Philippine Team member and medalist in Wushu, Sangiao transitioned into MMA and was one of the stars of the early days of the URCC. 

The Baguio native went 7-2 in his career, with all but one of his victories coming via stoppage. His last fight was in 2009, and it was around that time that other Team Lakay stars like Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, and Honorio Banario were getting their own careers off the ground. 

The decision to leave the fight game as a competitor and put his attention to coaching full time, Sangiao says, was made in 2010, and it was in the presence of his Team Lakay wards. 

"Napag-desisyunan ko ‘to, eight years ago, 2010. And they were there nung nagdesisyon ako, tinatanong ko din sila. ‘Desisyon mo ‘yan’, yun yung sabi nila." 

Now, eight years later, Sangiao has coached six world champions and has helped transform Team Lakay into one of, if not the best mixed martial arts teams in all of Asia

This success, the 38-year old Sangiao adds, has made his sacrifice even more worth while. 

"Positive naman akong tao, walang pinag-sisisihan, and I’m very happy with the result of my decision."

With four of ONE Championship's eleven MMA world championships residing in Team Lakay, it's not really surprising that Coach Mark is at peace with his decision. 

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