Malaysian MMA fighter helping typhoon survivors
MANILA – A Malaysian MMA fighter is reaching out to typhoon survivors in the Philippines.
ONE FC Malaysian national champion AJ “Pyro” Lias Mansor donated all of his winnings from his recent fight to the disaster victims.
“The Philippines is like my second home,” said Mansor in an interview with ABS-CBNnews.com. “I always come here, train here, compete here and fight here.”
The Malaysian striker will be flying to Tacloban on Thursday to personally help the survivors.
Mansor said he has been visiting the Philippines for five years and now has many Filipino friends.
He said he likes the Philippines not only because of the people’s hospitality but also because of their cheerful attitude.
“Every time I come here, people treat me nice. Some of them I already call my family,” said Mansor.
Mansor was training in Manila, preparing for his title fight against Melvin Yeoh, when Yolanda slammed into the Philippines.
He said he became concerned about the people living in the areas directly hit by the typhoon.
“I was thinking ‘Man, what happened in Visayas?’ The next day when I watched the TV so many people died and see houses destroyed,” said Mansor.
“The next day after the typhoon, I said it just gave me extra motivation and I’m gonna win this title and win this money and gonna donate the money.”
He also asked his wife, who is also his manager, to find contacts who can bring him directly to Tacloban so he can personally help the needy.
Mansor said he initially thought he needed to partner with an international organization to get access to Visayas.
“If I go there by myself, they wouldn’t allow me. I must be under Unicef or Red Cross,” he said. “Luckily yesterday, ONE FC called me and said ‘AJ we can fly you there if you want to volunteer’.”
“I said right away ‘I wanna go.’ I’m excited to go there tomorrow to Tacloban.”
Mansor has been competing as an MMA fighter for five years.
He was a former Pencak Silat national champion in Malaysia before fighting professionally in Thailand and Australia.
He’s also been fighting in the the Philippines due to its more established MMA scene with outfits like the Universal Reality Combat Championship.
“I’ve been in Manila and Baguio. I spend like two weeks to one month. I train with my team mates, Mark Striegl in Baguio. I sometimes work as a cornerman for my friends,” said Mansor.