Ever since the government in the Philippines implemented a month-long enhanced community quarantine in the northernmost island of Luzon to contain the rapid spread of the new coronavirus, the entire Metro Manila has been paralyzed. This has affected towns like Makati City which is where the Catalan Fighting System team are based.
The team is headed up by former ONE Championship strawweight challenger Rene Catalan. As the Luzon-wide lockdown only allowed private establishments providing basic necessities to conduct business, he had no other choice but to temporarily close the doors of his training facility to the public,
“We’re in survival mode right now, to be honest,” the 41-year-old admitted.
“It’s difficult because we have to look for other ways to earn money. Fighting is our livelihood. When the world stopped, we also stopped. Of course, we hope this will end soon.”
Catalan may have barred his regular clients from joining him in training as a precautionary measure, but life goes on for him and his stable of fighters which includes younger brother Robin Catalan and Jomary Torres.
“For us, we keep on training even though there is no scheduled match because we are just waiting for the go-signal from our promoter to compete again. I think that’s the only way we can earn money during this crisis,” he said.
While numerous sports organizations and leagues have essentially ceased operations in light of the global health crisis, various MMA promotions are exploring options to go through with their upcoming cards.
With their main sources of income now severely truncated, everyone in the industry finds themselves facing a different battle in an effort to stay afloat as they adapt to a new normal during the pandemic.
ONE Championship head honcho Chatri Sityodtong recently announced that bouts will push through amid the outbreak. It is highly unlikely that any fighters would be able to travel from the Philippines to Singapore to participate in these behind closed doors events.
But Catalan is happy to see that his employers are still planning to put on fights, even if he won’t be involved in them for the time being,
“For me, Sir Chatri’s decision to continue the event behind closed doors is the right move. Aside from the fact that it gives us hope in these trying times, the concern for safety is very evident. I commend them for that,” Catalan stated.
Ready for action
The prospect of being able to compete on a ONE Championship card is keeping the team motivated according to Catalan,
“It’s a sigh of relief for everyone in my team. I am willing to compete anytime. We badly need it. We’ll be ready, especially Robin and Jomary,” he added.
The multiple time wushu world champion also urged his compatriots to stay healthy and do physical exercise while on lockdown,
“To my fellow Filipinos, stay healthy. Boost your immunity. Find a way to exercise, even if you’re locked in at home. And the most important thing of them all is that we should always trust God. We will all get through this.”