ONE Chairman Chatri Sityodtong stands up for Team Lakay after losses at ONE: CENTURY
Santino Honasan on Oct 17, 2019 03:47 PM
Team Lakay's Danny Kingad (right) reacts after losing to Demetrious Johnson at ONE: Century in Tokyo, Japan (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
Filipino mixed martial arts stable Team Lakay had themselves quite the rough outing at ONE: Century last Sunday at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.
ONE rookie Lito Adiwang was the first up for the La Trinidad, Benguet-based squad and hoped to be able to set the tone for his team after picking up an impressive first-round TKO win in his promotional debut.
Unfortunately for the rest of the team, they wouldn’t be as successful, with Danny Kingad, Kevin Belingon, and Honorio Banario all absorbing losses.
The common denominator in those losses was grappling. As improved as Team Lakay’s grappling has gotten over the years, they were still outmatched by world-class grapplers like Demetrious Johnson, Bibiano Fernandes, and Shinya Aoki, all of them current or former world champions.
As has become somewhat routine following Team Lakay losses, social media comments pages began to light up with people expressing their displeasure for the Filipino warriors’ performances.
The online ‘bashing’ is hardly anything new for the members of Team Lakay, who have received their fair share of criticism, even going back to their early days in ONE.
In fact, they would be the first to say that it was the criticism that helped propel them to four world championships in 2016.
Now, Team Lakay is once again looking to rebuild, and the negative comments have come raining down.
Even ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong has taken notice of all the negativity aimed at the top Philippine MMA stable, and was quick to come to their defense.
“I would like to take a moment to address the online hate against my brothers and sisters at Team Lakay. First, let me begin by saying that Team Lakay is one of the best fight teams in the world,” he said in a lengthy Facebook post. “On any given day, Team Lakay can crush any team in the world. I speak the truth as someone who has done martial arts for over 35 years as a student, a competitor, a teacher, a coach, and now a CEO.”
“Whenever I think about what Mark Sangiao and his extraordinary team of superstar athletes have done from the mountains of Baguio, it blows away my mind. With no resources, no money, and limited access to world-class knowledge, they managed to build Asia's best fight team from nothing. If you want to know about the true Igorot warrior spirit, you can find it in every member of Team Lakay,” he continued.
Throughout their campaign with ONE Championship, Team Lakay has produced five world champions in Honorio Banario, Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, Belingon, and Joshua Pacio, while also parading top contenders like Kingad, Edward Kelly, and Gina Iniong.
“Does Team Lakay have weaknesses? Yes, of course. Every team in the world has weaknesses. However, I would argue that they have closed the gap significantly on their weaknesses, especially relative to the world's other top teams. Does Team Lakay have strengths? Yes, of course. Their striking is truly world-class,” Sityodtong detailed.
“Man, if anything, we should all be standing united, defending Team Lakay against all of the online haters who have never stepped into a martial arts school or a ring or a cage. Let us stand up and applaud Team Lakay and Mark Sangiao for chasing their dreams fearlessly in their quest to make history with another world title. Let us join hands and educate the world about their extraordinary stories and incredible warrior spirits. Let us unite about all the great things they have done in their lives due to the power of martial arts. Martial arts has made all of our lives better,” he concluded.