Winning the ONE Strawweight World Championship is Rene Catalan’s way of helping underprivileged athletes

Santino Honasan on Nov 08, 2019 10:04 AM
Winning a world title is Rene Catalan’s way of giving back
“Masiyadong importante sa akin itong title fight na ito, kasi this is the second chance na binigay sa akin ng ONE Championship, and importante sa akin ito para ma-reach ko yung goal ko and matupad ko yung passion ko na tumulong sa mga atleta, lalo na sa mga mahihirap na atleta na hindi nakaka-afford ng training fee nila" - Rene Catalan (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)

At 40 years old, veteran Filipino mixed martial artist Rene “D’ Challenger” Catalan is finally getting a shot at a world championship. 

Catalan will be challenging fellow Pinoy and reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio in the main event of ONE: Masters of Fate this Friday, November 8th at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Manila, Philippines. 

While this may be his first go at a world title in MMA, Catalan is no stranger to gold, having won medals for Wushu in the SEA Games and Asian Games, and adding a world title in MMA would be just the latest achievement in his already-decorated combat sports career. 

For Catalan however, winning a world championship is hardly for him anymore. Rather, it’s to be able to help other aspiring athletes achieve their world championship dreams. Winning a world championship comes with some financial bonuses so to speak, and Catalan says that would be a big help to his cause. 

“Masiyadong importante sa akin itong title fight na ito, kasi this is the second chance na binigay sa akin ng ONE Championship, and importante sa akin ito para ma-reach ko yung goal ko and matupad ko yung passion ko na tumulong sa mga atleta, lalo na sa mga mahihirap na atleta na hindi nakaka-afford ng training fee nila, kaya importante sa akin itong laban na 'to,” Catalan explained during the ONE: Masters of Fate Open Workouts, Tuesday. “Yung laban na ito, lalo na kung manalo ako, makaka-dagdag ng needs ng mga athletes, yung mga athletes na nagmemessage sa akin na they want to train martial arts and mag-compete sa ONE Championship but they cannot afford.”

The leader of the Catalan Fighting System, Coach Rene is also working towards helping more Filipinos reach the big stage in terms of martial arts.  

“Sinasabi ko as long as mayroong potential atsaka mayroong good attitude, tinutulungan namin. Libre lahat, in-house, libre yung food, libre yung training, at tsaka yung mga mahihirap na mga athletes, lalo na yung sa province,” he added

While giving back may be the bigger picture for Catalan, the prestige of becoming a world champion in MMA isn’t lost on him. At this point in his career, he knows that he won’t have as much time in competition as the younger fighters may have, and he plans on making the most of this massive opportunity. 

“To be a champion sa mixed martial arts, and then especially sa ONE Championship, one of the biggest MMA organizations sa Asia, it's special and importante, kasi I know na hindi na ako tatagal sa ONE Championship.” 

“Special ito dahil binigay sa akin yung opportunity,” he concluded. 

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