How are Filipino ONE Championship athletes coping with virus crisis?
MANILA, Philippines – The coronavirus pandemic has crippled various industries in different parts of the world and the world of sports has not been immune.
Athletes had to adjust during these trying times as sporting events had to be canceled, with promotions like ONE Championship erring on the side of safety.
Luckily, these athletes are tweaking tactics as they wait for the return of martial arts.
Take reigning ONE strawweight world champion Joshua "The Passion" Pacio for example.
The 24-year-old partnered with FlexBox, an on-demand personal training service, as its celebrity instructor.
For Pacio, anything that keeps them in-shape while also providing extra income is a plus. (READ: Young stars Pacio, Kingad leading Team Lakay new generation)
"This is good. It's added income for us while we're waiting for our next fight," Pacio said.
"It's also a good opportunity to interact with fans, help them stay fit and healthy to boost their immune system during the pandemic."
While some athletes have been staying in their lane, others have veered away from it to make ends meet.
With gyms closed, Ramon "The Bicolano" Gonzales is currently working a side job just to survive the economic repercussions of this pandemic.
The Filipino karateka is working in his sensei's business, selling and installing security equipment.
"I'm grateful because this is how I make ends meet while waiting for this pandemic to be contained," Gonzales said.
"It's really tough being a fighter nowadays. There are no events, which means there's zero payday. Luckily for me, I still have something to work with – unlike others who really have no means of making a living in these times. I'm just grateful to my sensei and Kyokushin Philippines for keeping my head above water."
While some athletes had to adjust, some were ahead of the curve in making sure they are future proof.
For former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio, it pays to have a head start in moments like this as he already started his own business even before the crisis hit.
Eustaquio is buying, refurbishing, and selling cars – something that he has been doing for years now – and the investment is paying off while events are on hold.
"It's a big help. At least during this pandemic where the fight industry is truly hit, I still have means to provide for my family on a daily basis like getting food and other services," Eustaquio said.
"At the same time, it's a good hobby to have. Fixing cars and selling them. I find joy in seeing my satisfied clients." – Rappler.com