Guest athlete Vera honored to join ‘The Apprentice’ 

Published February 27, 2021, 3:44 PM

by Carlo Anolin

brandon vera
Photo from ONE Championship

Filipino-American fighter Brandon Vera felt honored to appear as a guest athlete in ONE Championship’s edition of “The Apprentice.”

Vera joined a long list of legendary mixed martial artists who showed up as guest athletes in the hit reality television series, namely two-division UFC champion Georges St-Pierre, former ONE and Bellator welterweight titleholder Ben Askren, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu icon Renzo Gracie among others.

“It was very educational and refreshing not to have any pressure on me in front of the camera. I got to learn a lot from the candidates. I look forward to seeing ‘The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition,'” said Vera. “It was an honor, an absolute privilege to be standing next to greatness both in the martial arts and business worlds.”

Guest athletes were tasked to help 16 participants in their physical and business-related challenges in the show, which premieres in Asia next month and globally in June.

Filipino bets Lara Pearl Alvarez and Louie Sangalang, who were both former MMA practitioners, joined 14 other candidates from 11 countries out of the thousands of applicants in “The Apprentice.”

One of Vera’s takeaways is how the participants overcame the physical-related tasks, witnessing firsthand the fair share of success and failure on different activities assigned to them.

The reigning ONE Championship heavyweight king also had a thrilling experience working alongside top CEOs in Zoom’s Eric Yuan, Grab’s Anthony Tan, and Catcha Group’s Patrick Grove to name a few, which served as a “learning curve” for the veteran MMA fighter.

“I think the physical challenges for the candidates were something very unexpected. They were definitely not prepared even though they thought they were. It was very cool seeing some of them push beyond their limits, while some just fell apart,” said the 43-year-old Vera.  “It was a combination of being nervous, because I didn’t want to miss anything, and being nervous to discover some of my thought processes to be incorrect.”

Vera is currently holed up in an invitational training camp with Sanford MMA in Florida alongside ONE Championships stars Aung La N Sang and Martin Nguyen in preparation for a potential comeback later this year, possibly against new ONE talent Arjan Bhullar of India.

The Fil-Am champion last saw action in the Circle in October 2019, where he suffered a knockout defeat against current champion Aung La in their light heavyweight title bout.