NOT mixed martial arts but the politics of “Money Muscle Areglo” that is perceived so pronounced in the cities and towns outside of the provincial capital, Highly Urbanized City (HUC) of Bacolod, and believed by some active political circles to be mentored by the duo, former 3rd district congressman, also a known gambling mogul and kingmaker, and partylist representative known as the local leader of a breakaway group from the mainstream armed left.

Stories on the ground have repeatedly surfaced pointing to local and provincial politicians who believed to have sought the intervention and support of the known kingmaker to ensure their or their allies’ victory in 2016 and 2019 elections.

Honchos of UNEGA and LOVE Negros have also issued respective statements in past elections that they negotiated with each other to arrive at some compromises and concessions to minimize encounters and strive for negotiated unity or equivalent to peaceful collaboration.

In effect, most people outside Bacolod have not really exercised to the fullest their right to suffrage because of the dominance of MMA politics; the same experience for some aspiring public leaders from middle class and marginalized sectors who despite their meaningful platform and vigorous campaign still failed the race caused by the enormous pressure of MMA from the powers that be.

The MMA politics is an important and effective weapon of the landed and moneyed elites to keep the status quo in the greater part of the province, where a few in the uppermost of the socio-economic pyramid live a life of prince and princess, and the majority in the bottom of the same pyramid live like slaves and domesticated beasts of the powers that be.

The MMA politics has grown and taken deep roots in the vast sugarland-based mono-crop economy of the province, where most of its people are impoverished, destitute, and keep on rising to wage organized resistance to the status quo.

The harbingers of MMA politics now want to export it to Bacolod to complete its political dominance.

Thus, the fusion of the former 3rd district congressman, rebel leader turned partylist man, and back by a group of local loser politicians, and an army of powerful MMA middleweights – will certainly be the biggest threat to date to Bacolod Mayor Bing Leonardia, his team and the majority of Bacolodnon behind Leonardia’s administration.

But as I said, Bacolod is the last bastion of relatively free and democratic society, where the flip-flopping egoistic middle class is equalized by the progressive intelligentsia circles, politicized further by the workers and semi proletarians with strong progressive tendencies, balanced by the churches and various democratic institutions, energized by highly dynamic and intriguing media institutions, and all harmonized and directed by a classic middle-class intelligentsia Mayor Bing and his team – will not easily accept MMA politics or its kind.

Of course, Bacolod is not new to MMA politics. But beyond cases of vote-buying, selling votes, and brokering by high stake demanding partisan operators, politics in Bacolod remain level-headed, "civil," and far from the matrix of real MMA practitioners in rural and secondary urban centers.

The urban-based middle-class intelligentsia values and culture have more progressive distinctives than the fiefdoms and landed elites reigning rural towns and cities. The former wants a society that truly loves and cares for humanity. The latter a society that thrives on the class ego of power trampling on the rights and existence of others.

If the engkwentro would indeed take place between the MMA middleweight fighters wanting to invade the capital city and the development-seeking urban intelligentsia group of Mayor Bing and Bacolodnon, I am certain it would be a battle between the prostituting and dehumanizing politics of MMA and the gentle yet liberating and transformative politics of Aikido (Advancing Integrative Knowledge and Initiatives for Development Opportunities) of Mayor Bing and his team.

Knowing Mayor Bing and his team and the greater Bacolodnon, they will not surrender the last frontier without a solid, quality and dramatic fight, or a good fight they will like real legends.

Indeed, it would not just be a battle royale, but a battle for a life of prosperity with dignity for the next generations of Bacolod and then the greater province of Negros Occidental.