Originally expected to emanate from the Jakarta Convention Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia, Legend FC 8 will be headlined by a lightweight title clash between defending champion Jadamba Narantungalag and Yui Chul Nam.
According to the promotion’s official release, the event was transplanted to Hong Kong out of necessity when Fransino Tirta withdrew from the event due to illness. Replacing Tirta in a featherweight title co-main event will be Chinese competitor Xian Ji, who meets Yusuke Kawanago for the vacant championship.
“Fransino Tirta had originally been slated to headline Legend 8 in Jakarta, Indonesia, but had to withdraw after an emergency appendectomy [on] March 9,” Legend’s official statement reads. “With Legend committed to giving Tirta the opportunity to be the first Indonesian to fight for an international MMA championship in his home country, Legend decided to move Legend 8 to Hong Kong. After his recovery, Tirta will have the chance to fight in front of his home audience when he challenges for the featherweight title at Legend 10 in Jakarta in July.”
Legend FC was also the subject of a statement published Thursday by Philippines-based promotion Universal Reality Combat Championship. According to the release, URCC founder Alvin Aguilar has filed three cases with the Philippines’ Games and Amusements Board against Legend FC and its co-founder and managing director, Michael Haskamp.
The URCC’s official statement alleges that Legend has engaged in the “the illegal and unethical hiring of fighters under contract with the URCC.” It also states the Hong Kong-based promotion has brought “legally registered professional fighters outside [of the Philippines] without complying with any of the GAB’s requirements,” in addition to hiring trainers who are “blacklisted and unlicensed by the GAB.”
Aguilar then followed the allegations with a comment: “These foreigners think they can just come in and disregard the rules of our country and take advantage of our countrymen and our efforts to promote Filipino MMA fighters around the world. Now that Philippine MMA is mainstream because of the URCC’s efforts, all sorts of foreigners are trying to make a quick buck off the efforts of our countrymen. They even blatantly said that everyone is for sale here in our country. Well I’m sorry to say that we are not and this commission definitely is not for sale. I have personally dealt with [the GAB] for 10 years, and they never asked me for a dime! They will learn to respect the rules here, [and] all of the so-called Filipinos that supposedly support them (if any) should be hung up on a tree alongside these foreigners. As the founder of professional mixed martial arts in the Philippines, I am duty-bound to protect my fighters and ensure that all the laws regarding and protecting them are followed. We will not stand by and let these foreigners take advantage of anyone here. If ever I do meet them, they will also learn the true meaning of ‘Bakbakan na!’”
It remains unclear what type of ramifications Legend FC could face. The GAB serves in a similar capacity to American athletic commissions and has the power to ban the Hong Kong-based promotion from coming to the Philippines, but its jurisdiction does not extend beyond the Philippine border. To-date, Legend has only held shows in Hong Kong and Macau.
When reached for comment, Legend co-founder Haskamp declined to respond to Aguilar’s statement, asserting that he was waiting to hear from the GAB regarding any official allegations.
“For now, I can only say that we’re disappointed that Mr. Aguilar has decided to take this action without speaking with us directly,” Haskamp told Sherdog.com. “Legend’s top priorities are fighter safety, fairness and promoting MMA across the Asia-Pacific region. We have had and always will have fighter well-being and the integrity of the sport as our top priorities.”