Multiple sources have reached out to Stat Sports PH regarding alleged controversies involving promoter Ferdie Munsayac, the man responsible for Manila-based Underground Battle (UGB) MMA.
Munsayac claimed to have started UGB in 2014 as a non-profit organization meant to schedule fights and generate funds for underprivileged Filipino children.
However, people who stood up and spoke out about Munsayac bared the whole charity image was only a masquerade for a massive scam.
Promoter Laurence Canavan of Cage Gladiators shared the atrocities of Munsayac’s UGB when he partnered with Canavan, saying what was supposedly a non-profit and charity-driven organization became a money-making scheme that exploited fighters.
“The lies I’ve been told is that he is the godfather of MMA (in the Philippines) and that there was a made-up MMA award-giving body and he was the man of the year. He is totally fake,” said Canavan.
“He wants to grab credit for everything, he has not even been an MMA fighter … and he really has to be exposed for what he is doing.”
Canavan wanted to partner initially with Munsayac because he was sold on the latter’s vision of helping sponsor children off local MMA fights.
But Canavan said Munsayac became a pseudo-manager and promoter as he fed off the income of UGB, handling fighters who participated in his UGB events. This was when things took a turn for the weird, as Munsayac took massive cuts as a promoter of fighters from his UGB stable, reaching up to 40 percent of the fighter’s purse.
Munsayac would also trick fighters into helping them compete in bigger organizations, and yet he couldn’t provide the necessary sponsorship, sometimes even making excuses such as it was the fighters’ mistake for losing.
Canavan eventually pulled out and stopped donating to Munsayac upon learning the truth behind the corrupted UGB. He also realized that Munsayac’s “many” scholars have suddenly disappeared one by one.
“An MMA fighter’s shelf life is short, and my advice is that for those under the UGB promotion, double check because being there for five years (for example) means already wasting five years of your training,” Canavan shared.
Ridiculous fight night gimmicks
Among the many gimmicks, Munsayac started with UBG were mismatched fights with foreign fighters not even having to undergo weigh-ins prior to fight night. It led to their inferior Filipino opponents on fight night losing badly.
A source believes Munsayac purposely lets the foreigners win for them to boost their MMA records, with Munsayac getting a cut from them.
“Parang ginagawa niyang pakain yung mga Pinoy doon sa mga foreigner,” said the source who requested anonymity.
“They (foreigners) use those fights as a stepping stone,” Canavan said.
UGB even has female fights that tend to be too sexualized, as they have to be draped in oil inside the cage.
Another gimmick is having gay men fight inside the cage, which disrespects the sport not because of their gender but because of their inexperience. The primary purpose of having gay fights is just to try and turn UGB events into a circus.
“There are many LGBTQ fighters in the MMA and boxing world, but they are qualified for the sport and are trained and legitimate professionals, unlike the ones doon (kay Munsayac) na para bang for entertainment value lang talaga,” the source said.
Not only that, but UGB fighters, according to the source, have to pay an initial entry fee of 1,000 pesos to be included in the fight card. A win would mean getting their money back, but a loss would mean going home without compensation at all.
Bad business partner, spotlight grabber
Another source who requested anonymity unveiled that (the source) worked closely with Munsayac during the early stages of Underground Battle, helping promote the event while working hands-on with everything needed to pull off UGB stagings.
“We launched UGB 1 summer of 2014 sa gym with the media, camera, and lights,” said the source.
However, the said source shared Munsayac did not compensate them fairly for their contributions to Underground Battle, leaving promises unfulfilled.
“I have equity shares since wala naman akong money na puhunan and hindi pa siya corporation that time and he had no books for his business. He promised me that he will make it into a corporation and I will be an incorporator,” said the source.
UGB did gain some traction, even partnering with other promotions to launch bigger caliber fight cards.
But the source said with the “rise” of Munsayac’s UGB came the unfair treatment as if the source was left behind in spite of initial efforts.
“It was again on plans of going bigger and better kaya they targeted the international scene. We got a team to do the business plan,” the source shared.
“Really, doon nag-start to go spiraling down ang treatment nila sa akin and I saw how they used and became user-friendly.”
Canavan and the two sources all believe more people with a degree of involvement in Underground Battle have stories to tell. Initiating the conversation would lead to more people speaking out regarding unchecked controversies surrounding Munsayac.
■ Editor’s note: Ferdie Munsayac is open to sharing his side of the story by contacting Stat Sports PH.