One FC champ lends aid to Yolanda victims

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Friday, November 22, 2013


NOT satisfied with donating his prize money after winning the One Fighting Championship national featherweight championship in Kuala Lumpur November 15, Malaysian AJ Lias Mansor this time wants to help out in typhoon-ravaged areas in Leyte.

Mansor, who flew into the country yesterday onboard Airasia, will join a 29-man team and crew of ABSCBN’s Salamat Doc program that will conduct a medical mission starting today up to Sunday in Tacloban City. Airasia also took care of the transportation needs of the medical mission team from Manila to Tacloban and back.

Mansor, who hails from Kota Kinabalu, the capital state of Sabah, surprised a huge crowd at the Stadium Putra in Kuala Lumpur during the ONE FC: Warrior Spirit event when he announced that he would donate all his earnings from the fight to the victims of typhoon Yolanda.

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One FC will also be holding a similar event in the Philippines on December 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena featuring Filipino mixed martial arts (MMA) strikers and Team Lakay members Honorio "The Rock" Banario, Eduard "Landslide" Folayang, Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon, and Jujeath Nagaowa against tough foreign fighters. Geje Eustaquio, another Team Lakay member, will be fighting a fellow hard-hitting Filipino.

What made Mansor's gesture more laudable is that this is his first champion belt under One FC, Asia's largest mixed martial arts organization with more than 90 percent market share.

In an interview upon his arrival in Manila, the Malaysian muay thai expert said that one week before the fight, he read and heard the news about the enormous devastation caused by Yolanda and the big number of fatalities and affected families.

“I really felt the grief of those affected by the typhoon since I have many friends and what I already called as family in the Philippines. That’s why I said to myself at that time that if I win the championship I would donate my earnings to the typhoon victims,” Mansor said.

He said that this promise to himself motivated him to train harder and made him determined to win the championship, his first as a mixed martial arts fighter. Prior to joining the ONE FC fold, Mansor used to be the national silat champion of Malaysia and a muay thai fighter for seven years.

"I do not want to only donate my earnings but also to be in the affected areas and to help out in whatever way I can," Mansor said.

He said when the opportunity arose for him to join the medical mission being organized by the Salamat Doc program, he immediately grabbed it even if he has not yet fully recovered from the grueling training and fight.

Unknown to many, Mansor, who is also a gym owner and a teacher, has regularly trained in the Philippines in the past, particularly in some gyms in Metro Manila and at the Team Lakay facility in Baguio City.

These regular forays into the country for training made him develop close friendship with many Filipinos, some of whom he already considers as family.

“The Philippines is like my second home. The residents here are kind and treat me nicely,” said Mansor, who was born in Kota Kinabalu and has a Badjao blood.

In deciding to donate his earnings, the Malaysian said he does not only think about winning a title but also on how to help those in need.

He revealed that after every bout in the past as a muay thai fighter, he gave some of his earnings to orphanages. He even helped out neighbors during calamities in his place.

It was also learned even before he became a professional prize fighter, he volunteered as a teacher for five years and was assigned to far-flung primary schools teaching language, science and other subjects.

“These are the village schools where teachers did not want to be assigned because they are really far and there were no electricity and communication facilities,” Mansor said.

Up to now he still loves teaching, specially children, and would go back to it given the opportunity in the future.

Amid the brutality and blood that characterize prize fighting, Mansor is a rare breed. Truly, a warrior with a heart. (PR)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on November 23, 2013.

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