Fil-Am MMA fighters condemn hate crimes against Asian-Americans

Published April 10, 2021, 2:01 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Filipino-Americans ONE Championship athletes Brandon Vera and Jackie Buntan (ONE Championship)

ONE Championship athletes Brandon Vera and Jackie Buntan have condemned the rampant violence and hate crimes towards Asians and Asian-Americans in the United States.

Vera and Buntan, who are both Filipino-Americans, have expressed their disappointment over the matter, echoing each other’s opinions that the violence must stop.

“I think people, when put under stressors, can’t escape and begin to show their third mask — their true form. Because they don’t know how to differentiate between their feelings, rationality, and societal norms. Everything to them just starts to blend. Basically, people’s true colors are starting to come out,” said Vera, the reigning ONE Championship heavyweight king.

“I, for one, am thankful to see and remember at the same time not to forget. I don’t care what the excuse is, how you grew up, or what you were taught or thought. Violence against anyone not in a sanctioned competition is pure ignorance. I’m not okay with it, and if it ever happened in front of me, I would probably lose myself for a moment.”

Buntan, a ONE Super Series muay thai fighter, for her part, stressed that people are still misinformed despite living in the “day and age of information.”

She added that being an American means to accept the “colorful mix of cultures that have forged American society throughout history.”

“Speaking about the Asian hate crimes in the U.S., my heart goes out to all who have been targeted and affected by these attacks,” said Buntan, who marked a successful debut in ONE after scoring a unanimous decision win over Thai rising star Wondergirl Fairtex.

“Being an Asian-American myself, having Asian parents who came to the US for a better life, not only for their children but for themselves, it saddens me and it angers me. America is a melting pot of cultures and diversity with endless possibilities. And that is for all Americans, regardless of your ethnicity.”

ICYMI: Fil-Am coach Erik Spoelstra: Hate attacks ‘heartbreaking and sickening’

ONE Championship recently launched its #StopAsianHate x #WeAreONE campaign which aims to raise awareness and monetary funds for the movement and GoFundMe’s “Support The AAPI Community Fund” and combat the surge in hate crimes against “Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, and all at-risk communities in the United States.”

A $1.5 million investment will be allotted for a 12-month video campaign, a free 12-month subscription to 1,000 families in the US to Evolve University, a limited-edition merchandise over the next 12 months in which total of proceeds will be donated to the AAPI Community Fund, and a martial arts self-defense program in major metropolitan cities in the US.

ONE CEO and founder Chatri Sitytodtong is also set to donate a personal cash fund of $100,000 for the movement.

ICYMI: Pacquiao joins #StopAsianHate movement: Fight me instead