The URCC, which is one of the longest running MMA promotions in Asia, had Filipinos buzzing about the much hyped celebrity match up between actors Baron Geisler and Kiko Matos on Saturday night. Thousands flocked to Uptown Bonifacio, in Taguig city, selling out their venue and had fans lining up around the corner, still trying to get in even hours after the event had already started.
This wasn't your normal fight event, and the Geisler vs Matos match up had people who never even watched Mixed Martial Arts all either excited to be attending the show or desperately searching for a bootleg stream. The insane hype stems from various videos and antics that completely went viral in the country.
Last May, the two had a bar fight that went viral on social media and covered on all local news outlets. The URCC then invited them to settle the score with an actual MMA fight, and both men surprisingly agreed to it. That wasn't the end on all the antics that burned through the internet though. During a pre-fight press conference, Geisler kissed Matos on their staredown. On their official weigh-in, Kiko shouted 'Baron, drink my piss!' and started spraying his opponent.
Some claim it was just beer, but it was enough to get the internet buzzing even more about the contest.
As for the actual bout, it was dubbed as an exhibition match without knees or elbows allowed to the head, and it pretty much went as you'd expect from two actors without much martial arts backgrounds or ample time to prepare. While they had the entire crowd screaming and chanting the whole time, their sloppy two-round bout ended in a somewhat anti-climactic draw.
"Are you not entertained?!" Geisler channeled the Gladiator as he screamed to the fans after the bout.
This was a complete spectacle of course. While it was never meant to showcase technical MMA skills, it did its part and served its purpose. The URCC took a page from MMA's old playbook, and put on a freakshow bout that drew in a completely different audience.
Picking up quality wins on the card are URCC champ Chris Hoffman and MJ Abrillo. While the countless casual fans tuned in for the celebrity match, officials are hoping that those extra eyeballs on the legitimate fighters are converted to regular viewers moving forward.
Time will tell if it works, but hopefully everyone holds off on the pee spraying next time.