It is known by now that the highly contagious coronavirus is officially a stubborn pest to every human in the world, Filipinos included. Even physically tough beings like MMA athletes are not spared.
The stroke of bad luck hit Team Lakay superstars Stephen “The Sniper” Loman and Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang as they are reportedly being pulled out from their respective fights in ONE Championship’s “One on TNT” series due to testing positive of the coronavirus.
According to the International Business Times, Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship confirmed the pull out after Loman and Adiwang tested positive for coronavirus prior to departing the Philippines enroute to Singapore.
Loman was supposed to make his much anticipated ONE debut against top bantamweight contender John Lineker on April 22 during “ONE on TNT III.”
It will be recalled that Loman officially left his legendary BRAVE CF bantamweight reign in order to join most of his brothers at ONE Championship.
He departed BRAVE with a 13-2 career fight record and the promotion’s only titleholder who defended his championship multiple times. He was undefeated in six bouts with the promotion since 2016 and his reign has been active for 1,177 days as of February 5, 2021, the longest in BRAVE’s history.
Bibiano Fernandes of Brazil is the holder of the longest reign in the bantamweight division of ONE Championship at 1,848 days before Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon halted his first reign.
The incident is a big disappointment for both Loman and his fans, who were just as excited as him looking forward to watching this big title eliminator match.
On the other hand, Adiwang was set continue his march to reenter this ONE Official rankings, where teammate Joshua Pacio reigns supreme, by facing Jarred Brooks in a strawweight bout during “ONE on TNT II” on April 14.
Adiwang put his ONE career back on the right track by reversing his short burst of sour fortunes after suffering his first promotional defeat and losing his mother at the end of 2020 by knocking out Namiki Kawahara with a left hook in the second round of their strawweight mixed martial arts tilt during ONE: UNBREAKABLE held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on January 22, 2021.
ONE selected Troy Worthen to substitute in place of Loman while the promotion has yet to name Adiwang’s replacement.
Meanwile, Eduard Folayang and other Team Lakay contingent who are already in Singapore are also placed under observation due to possible exposure to the virus being close contacts of Loman and Adiwang.
Folayang is scheduled to face Korean-Japanese legend Yoshihiro Akiyama at ONE on TNT 4 on April 28.
Ironically, the entire match would most likely be shelved as Akiyama suffered an injury that prevents him from participating in the card.
“Unfortunately my scheduled date for ONE Championship fight on 4/29 has been cancelled. Due to a complete tear in my ligaments and bicep muscles sustained during my training camp, I unfortunately have come to the decision that I will not fight.” said the “Sexyama” in an instagram post.
“To One Championship fighter Eduard Folayang and to all fans, I am truely sorry to break this news out to you in such way.” the post continued.
Folayang was hoping to snap a two-match slide at the expense of Akiyama. The “Landslide” lost four of his last five matches heading into this lightweight showdown.
It the worst occurs, his comeback to better positioning among the elite lightweights in ONE has to take the backseat for a while.
One Championship has yet to make an announcement on what will happen with the Team Lakay veteran’s supposed appearance at “ONE on TNT” series as off press time.
By Armando M. Bolislis