Louie Sangalang almost joined ONE Championship when he was offered a contract for the ONE Warrior Series.
But for some reason, even if martial arts was his first love, he did not pursue a comeback in the Circle.
Despite the nod of mixed martial arts legend Rich Franklin, the showrunner of the reality series, Sangalang declined the offer in exchange of a very meaningful event in his life.
“I got a call actually to be a part of ONE Championship. Guess what happened? North Pole marathon,” said Sangalang, a former URCC featherweight champion. “So namili ako (So I chose), that was the second most difficult decision of my life. This is a story that a lot of people didn’t know but this is the reality.
“I chose the North Pole marathon not because I wanted to do the North Pole marathon but because it is my wife’s dream to actually see the Aurora Borealis. Sabi ko (I told myself), this is a two-in-one situation but I lost my chance to compete in ONE Championship.”
In April 2018, Sangalang represented the Philippines as the first Filipino cancer survivor to conquer the North Pole marathon, crossing the finish line in 11 hours and four minutes.
Sangalang has no regrets for the decision and thought that it may be for the best as he hit two birds with one stone.
His MMA comeback may have failed to materialize but “The Apprentice” paved the way for Sangalang to reconnect with the promotion in a different manner.
And this time, Sangalang, 43 wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“Sabi ko (I told myself) I missed my opportunity [before] until this (The Apprentice) came about and maybe this time [kahit] hindi na ako lumalaban (even if I’m not an active in MMA ) but I do something else for the organization,” said Sangalang, who is the lone male survivor in the show as of the airing of Episode 8. “When the auditions came about, talagang nagpapasalamat ako sa mga tulong ninyo kasi talagang ang daming nag-show ng support (I’m really grateful for all those who showed support).”
Sangalang has been the series’ frontrunner, showcasing versatility on both ends — be it the physical tasks or the business challenges.
There are five candidates left, including Sangalang, who are vying $250,000 job offer as the protege of ONE Championship chief Chatri Sidyodtong and the organization’s chief of staff.