Team Lakay’s official website shares the martial arts values that its athletes adhere to in everyday life, traits such as respect, discipline, honor, humility, courage, and integrity. All of which powered the Benguet-based gym to produce five World Champions in ONE Championship.
But with every fight that comes the team’s way, keeping their feet on the ground and their eyes on the prize becomes more of a challenge, especially when opponents dish out verbal jabs.
In that regard, ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio’s resolve is being tested by #2-ranked contender Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks. The 28-year-old competitor from Michigan has made everyone aware since he joined ONE that he’s coming for the titleholder.
After defeating Hiroba Minowa at ONE: ONLY THE BRAVE this past January, the Mash Fight Team representative said, “Daddy’s home, Joshua Pacio. You better be ready. I’ll bend you right over my knee just like I did Hiroba.”
“To Jarred Brooks, congratulations on your win. But you’ve seen nothing yet, man. You never fought somebody like me, and this is my division.”
However, Brooks may have taken it too far after calling Pacio a derogatory Filipino word in a recent interview with ONE Championship. In fact, it was so out of line that Coach Mark Sangiao had to put the American competitor in line.
However, Brooks responded that his comment was misconstrued.
“Bro, they took that out of context. Joshua is not a pussy. He is a World Champ. I love how you all are acting like you’re perfect, though. See you soon!”
Team Lakay’s main mentor kept a cool head in his rebuttal to Brooks.
“Jarred Brooks, we have our own style in promoting ourselves and our team. To each his own, and we choose to inspire and promote this way.”
But before Brooks can back up his banter about Pacio, he must first surpass top-ranked strawweight contender Bokang “Little Giant’ Masunyane at ONE 156: Eersel vs. Sadikovic this Friday, 22 April. The winner of that showdown will most likely be next in line for “The Passion.”
The South African will be a tough challenge for Brooks because he possesses an all-around game and devastating punching power. Those attributes helped the combatant from Coach Quan University build a perfect 8-0 career mixed martial arts record.
Pacio will be ready for whoever wins that contest. After all, Sangiao will keep the World Champion’s emotions in check while maintaining the discipline that made the wushu specialist into the ONE strawweight king.
Watch the lead card of ONE 156: Eersel vs. Sadikovic live on One Sports and One Sports+ at 5 p.m. Philippine Standard Time (PHT) on Friday, 22 April. The main card broadcasts on One Sports and One Sports+ at 8:30 p.m. PHT.