PROVIDING a venue for local Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters to showcase their talents -- Dr. Vincent Rey Vicente, M.D. talks with Sun.Star Davao on how he juggles his medical profession while handling the Smoker Fights MMA Promotions, one of the fastest-rising amateur MMA promotions in Mindanao.

Vicente said the name of Smoker Fights was derived from the United States where locals there organize no-holds-barred fights called "smokers" in the backrooms and warehouses of establishments just like that of Chuck Palahniuk's novel Fight Club.

When he brought the Smokers to Davao City in 2010, it didn't had that meteoric rise. It simply started at the gym of the now defunct Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP)-Davao at the back of the Davao City Recreation Center Almendras Gym.

"Nag-announce ko nga naa mi i-hold nga padula para sa mga amateur fighters sa Almendras Gym so mao na to ang sugod. Didto na nagweigh-in ang mga fighters and didto na pud namo sila gi-matchup. Gamay ra ang nangadto pero at least mao na to ang nakapush sa akoa nga ipadayon kay maayo ang feedback sa mga nakaapil (I announced that we will be holding a competition for amateur fighters at the Almendras Gym so that was the start. The fighters made their weigh-ins on the spot and we also made the matchups right there and then. The attendance may have been small but it was enough to push me to continue since it had good feedbacks from the participants.)" Vicente said.

But from the humble beginnings four years ago, Vicente has organized a total of 14 Smoker Fights events across Mindanao with one recently concluding in Koronadal City.

Vicente drove the Smoker Fights to newer heights as it was recognized as one of the partner networks of One FC, one of the biggest MMA promotions in Asia. Smoker fights also got the accreditation from the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).

He also was the first to use the cage as the fighting ground for amateur fighters in Mindanao, providing fighters that feeling of how it's like to compete inside the cage just like a fighter from the world-renowned fight league Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Vicente, who also is the head trainer of Edge MMA, said his passion for the sport and the satisfaction that he gets in giving exposure and opportunities to local fighters is enough for him to keep the fight promotions up and running.

"The Smoker Fights is definitely not lucrative from my end. In fact, I am the one incurring and covering losses. But despite that, I will still continue to promote our local fighters since I believe that Mindanao has a lot of talented fighters and the only thing that is hindering them is that they have no venue to showcase their talent. That is why I am driven to keep the promotion going. I also acknowledge the fighters, coaches and MMA teams who continue to support our league since they still participate despite having to receive minimal payment after their fights," Vicente said.

But apart from promoting amateur fights across Mindanao, he has also done a part to the community as a resident physician specializing in surgery at the Community Health and Development Cooperative (CHDC) Hospital and as deputy director of the Kinasang'an Foundation, Inc., a non-government organization focusing on implementing and monitoring health care plans.

He also works as a technical assistance consultant at a private health care company in Orange Park, Florida in the United States of America.

As an MMA trainer, he conducts various self-defense seminars down to the most vulnerable sectors of society while as a health care provider, he has launched countless medical missions throughout his career.

Prior to his career, he acquired his bachelor's degree in Biology at the

Ateneo de Davao University before earning his degree in Medicine at the Davao Medical School Foundation.

Vicente is happily married to Jessa Galon-Vicente. They have three kids.