Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has jumped into the MMA arena but he won’t be trading any punches.
Instead, the eight-division champion could likely be wearing a suit in the boardroom, after Victor Cui, CEO of One Fighting Championship (One FC) confirmed with Yahoo Sports that the champ has bought an undisclosed number of shares in the Singapore-based mixed martial arts promotion.
Cui said that Pacquiao has been looking for opportunities outside of boxing and had his eye on MMA, a venture that “made a lot of sense to him.”
"There are a lot of common fans and common ties with MMA and boxing [in the Philippines] and MMA awareness is much stronger than it is in other parts of Asia."
"There are a ton of reasons why I'm pretty excited about this. Obviously, Manny Pacquiao is a global sports icon and having him as a part of our organization as a shareholder and promoting One FC and promoting the sport is huge for the sport in the region. It promotes awareness and growth," he said.
One FC is Pacquiao’s latest foray outside of boxing. Last June, the “Pacman” became the head coach of the Kia Motors team in the Philippine Basketball Association and will drafted as one of if its players.
He also conquered the local polls in 2010, becoming the congressman of Sarangani province. Capping it off are a couple of music albums he produced and a number of appearance in TV and local films.
ONE FC has held four events so far in the country, the first held in August 2012 - ONE FC: Pride of a Nation - at the Smart Araneta Colliseum.
The last three bouts took place at the MOA Arena, which was named as its “valued venue partner” last February. Cui promised Filipino fans at least two One FC fights per year in the indoor arena.