While I am presently embroiled in another production deadline, I will take the time to put this up because one, I did say that I’d post fight night pictures soon, and secondly, of all the shoots I’ve been to, this is one I am really proud to have been in.
Touted as one of the biggest fight nights to be held in Asia, especially in the Philippines, ‘Pride of a Nation’ featured matches from several of the best MMA fighters in the world, with several Filipinos among them. Behind the whole thing was One FC, a Singapore-based MMA promoter and one of the biggest MMA promoters in Asia. I had to pull all the possible stops I could in order to get in, which I did – although I was relegated to the media area, basically forcing me to shoot from just one spot.
Of course I had to make to with what I was given – good thing I was at the Araneta earlier than many other photographers, so I got to pick a fairly good spot where I could “camp”. One thing you learn when you shoot events with other members of the media there is that you try to get there as reasonably early as possible, bring stuff to help pass the time (games on your mobile phone, books, metal puzzles, etc.), pick a good spot and never leave (took me ages before I could ask someone to keep my place so I could go to the loo) and make do with that.
All things considered, it was a great opportunity and privilege to be there – not everyone got access like I did – and I’m pretty happy with my output. There is much more for me to learn though, and I am hopeful that I’ll be given more chances to shoot events like these in the future. Contact / combat sports like MMA and boxing really have a different kind of life to them, and the dynamism and unpredictability you’ll find in each match isn’t something you’ll easily see in other kinds of sports.
Anyway, here are a few more images from One FC’s ‘Pride of a Nation’:
I have to give special mention to this next image – my favorite shot of the night – where Rolles Gracie chokes (with a rear-naked choke to be exact) opponent Tony Bonello, forcing the latter to surrender, giving the win to Gracie. The Gracies (three fought that night, with two of them victorious) were really interesting to watch, because they were consistent in sticking to BJJ as a means to win. This meant seeing them always look for takedowns and almost shun striking completely, while constantly looking for holds and grips to force an opponent to submission. And it’s not easy, mind you – but Rolles pulled it off beautifully here, leaving his opponent no choice but to tap out.