URCC exec sees sports as key to PH economic recovery

Published November 10, 2022, 7:43 PM

by Manila Bulletin Sports

Arnold Vegafria

Reigniting the interest in sports in the post-pandemic era could play a key role in the country’s economic recovery, according to long-time business manager Arnold Vegafria.

Known for his vast corporate knowledges and global expertise, Vegafria believes that Philippines is an international sporting hub that can attract a lot of opportunities all over the world.

Vegafria has been in the sports business since 2013 when he acted as the business manager of former senator Manny Pacquiao before being appointed as Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) global chairman five years later.

“Every day, Filipinos do love sports, they are very interested. Philippines has a large audience when it comes to sports like boxing, MMA, basketball, among others, so I think it is the time to make a massive follow up,” Vegafria explained.

It has been already a year, he added, when sporting events locally and globally have reopened after a year of agony brought by the pandemic. Vegafria now sees the new opportunity to strike back by holding unique sporting events.

Vegafria and URCC founder Alvin Aguilar have brought international recognition to the Philippines’ only own mixed martial arts promotions by holding various fight cards in the United States and South Korea prior to the pandemic.

“We made sure URCC — the Philippines’ very own mixed martial arts promotions — will maintain its status as an elite MMA entity worldwide and we are so glad to announce that we are eyeing to hold more future fights around the world,” he said.

The URCC recently held the first ever Bare-knuckle fight last week in BGC that drew hundreds spectators and a million views online.

Vegafria is working closely with his international partners in China, Middle East and the United States as its URCC global chairman.

Vegafria is also well-known for putting Miss World Philippines on top since becoming a part of it in 2013 — where Megan Young became the first-ever Filipino to win the Miss World title.

And three years later, he became the national director of Miss World and Mr. World Philippines until now after being appointed by founder Julia Morley.

Vegafria’s leadership gives integrity, quality and prestige to one of the world’s biggest beauty pageants since then. He established Miss World Philippines, Miss Supranational, Miss Eco Philippines, Reina Hispanoamericana and Miss Grand International.

And also returning this December is the 43-year-old Pacquiao who will be fighting South Korean DK Yoo in South Korea.

Vegafria is tasked to handle the exhibition bout’s marketing and promotions worldwide beginning November.

“As an international icon, Pacquiao remains absolutely a major attraction worldwide especially to some foreign investors. He has still that Midas touch. Once, he is involved, everything turns gold. Pacquiao boosts our sports and tourism so well,” the famous television and movie producer, and talent manager explained.

Whether it’s a person, place, event or a product, Vegafria knows how to turn any of it to a gold standard just like what he is doing with URCC, Pacquiao and Miss World Philippines, among other brands.

Vegafria, also graduate of Doctor Dental Medicine in University of the East, has a post-graduate executive program in digital advertising in Boston University and a degree in Innovation and Creative Enterprise, Thames International. He also holds an Executive Program in Marketing and Advertising in New York University and short course in film making in New York University.