Manny Pacquiao has bought a stake in Asia-based MMA league One Fighting Championship, CEO Victor Cui told Yahoo Sports.
Cui did not disclose the number of shares Pacquiao bought, but said the welterweight champion will be a part of promoting One FC.
Pacquiao has only recently become an MMA fan, according to Cui, but the sport, and One FC in particular, already enjoy wide popularity in Asia, including Pacquiao's native Philippines.
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One FC will have the opportunity to leverage Pacquiao's popularity. The UFC has long wanted to put an event in the Philippines. The UFC in 2008 sent former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell to the Philippines on a promotional tour and he drew 4,000 fans to a workout.
"There are a lot of common fans and common ties with MMA and boxing [in the Philippines] and MMA awareness is much stronger than it is in other parts of Asia," Cui said. "Manny has been looking for some opportunities outside of boxing, and he and his team have kept an eye on the sport of MMA. It made a lot of sense to him."
Though Pacquiao is now an investor, there's no indication he has any interest in ever fighting in an MMA event. His next boxing match will be a title defense against Chris Algieri on Nov. 22 in Macau, China.
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- Ben Estes