The investment is reportedly small but the significance of the name if huge. This week Manny Pacquiao, arguably the most recognized boxer in the world (at least tied with Floyd Mayweather and Wladimir Klitschko), bought into a piece of the growing Asian based One Fighting Championship. The extent of his involvement isn’t clear, but what is crystal clear is the cache of having his name attached to an organization that is seeking to become more relevant on the global stage. Even an appearance by one of the all time greats in combative sports at an event, is worth its weight in gold for the mentions it will get in major sports coverage.
In the Philippines where Pacquiao is the leading businessman, owning gyms; owning a pro basketball team; owning well, whatever he wants; and to boot he’s also a twice elected Congressmen; this announcement is a KO for OneFC against any rival in that covet market share. So popular is Manny there that his trainer, Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, is also one of the most recognized figures in the country. The reach of Manny is all encompassing, being linked to him is a universal door opener.
As he gets ready for his WBO welterweight title defense against Chris Algieri in Macao in November, it is doubtful that OneFC will receive the benefit of his presence on a regular basis, but this the flashpoint for the group. Now Manny is associated with them, with their name. That will be the focus of press gatherings in the near future, more than the actual fights themselves. It is a public relations coup, and that is what any sports league is always seeking. With the exception of the UFC, the fighters can come and go with varying impact on the promotion, but the brand is what has to be firmly rooted in the minds and hearts of the followers. For a group that is now more deeply rooted in the Far East and is still seeking recognition in the U.S.– they found it. Oh yeah, One FC that’s Pacquiao’s deal right?
Deal in so many ways beyond the dollar figure he might have delivered. Bo Vongsakoun will be leaving soon as our producer for “Inside MMA” to take a similar role with OneFC, the timing of the announcement couldn’t be better for him. ” We all know how big Manny Pacquiao is to the region. His involvement shows the growth of MMA in Asia and I hope to make sure One FC continues to lead this growth,” he notes.
Victor Cui, the CEO of OneFC calls it, ” another great example of how One FC is expanding in dominating the sport landscape in Asia.” That seems the biggest selling point for any future investors. Having Manny attached to anything in Asia is tantamount to LeBron James supporting a regional MMA venture in Cleveland or Peyton Manning doing likewise in Colorado, there is an instant prestige with an iconic name and a message is sent to all competitors, the flag has been planted at the mountain top and the rest of you have to camp below.
The Pacquiao investment this week, delivered the punch to make One FC a group to watch closely now, and in the future.
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