Mark Sangiao
Mark Sangiao shares his experience of coaching 16 aspirants during the filming process of ONE Warrior Series: Philippines. ONE Championship


  • Mark Sangiao serves as the head coach of ONE Warrior Series: Philippines
  • He is tasked to supervise the training of non-Team Lakay fighters during the show's filming
  • Sangiao is delighted that the winner will represent Team Lakay in ONE Championship

Mark Sangiao has landed an integral role fitting for a respected mixed martial arts trainer who has produced six world champions in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA).

The 43-year-old Team Lakay lynchpin has been tapped to serve as the main judge and head coach of ONE Warrior Series: Philippines—a reality television show produced by ONE Championship in search of the next Filipino MMA superstar.

The winner of the series will receive an exclusive multi-fight deal worth $100,000 and a spot on the talent-filled ONE Championship roster.

One of the many tasks outlined in his job description is to monitor and assess the progress of the 16 contestants who came from different gyms across the Philippines.

Sangiao conceded that during the filming process of the show, he had his work cut out for him in dealing with a cast of battle-tested veterans and highly-touted prospects who are determined to lay claim to a sought-after break at the international level of competition.

"As they say, patience is a virtue," the decorated coach told the International Business Times with a good laugh.

"It was hard to handle different characters. There are characters who are strategists, meaning because they're so good at strategizing. As a result, they tend to get lazy. Some also have a little bit of attitude, wherein they'll try to disrupt the entire team," he added.

"I've been coaching for many years. I know how to handle it. Through experience, we've found a solution to that."

Rather than looking solely at the distinct attributes and skills that the participants can bring into the cage, Sangiao made sure that the selling point of who should walk away with the grand prize gave more emphasis on attitude.

"Sometimes, people will come in and think that it's easy. But when they go to our gym in the mountains, they train with us and try our 'superman run,' then they realize that being a martial artist and representing the Philippines on the international stage isn't that easy," he said.

"The lesson for them is that they have to be humble, so they can win this competition and reach their dreams."

Sangiao's commitment to the job needed no second thought as he accepted the post knowing that the organizers elected to prohibit his own stable of up-and-comers from joining the show and vying for the lucrative contract.

The soft-spoken mentor fully understood the rationale behind it, but he didn't mince words in expressing excitement that the last man standing on the reality series will get to represent Team Lakay and don the legendary group's bright red trunks in ONE Championship.

"One of the core values of martial arts is integrity. To avoid being biased, there shouldn't be a Team Lakay member on the show. I agreed with the decision of ONE Championship to not include a single member from our team. But the good takeaway here is that in the end, the winner will be the newest member of Team Lakay," he stated.

Team Lakay
The winner of ONE Warrior Series: Philippines will get inducted as the newest member of Team Lakay. ONE Championship

ONE Warrior Series: Philippines aired its pilot episode last Sunday, September 18, and had its first elimination that trimmed the batch of aspirants down to 15.

Christian Laurio of Geje Eustaquio's "Team Gravity" was sent home after a thorough deliberation among the coaches.

The show adopted a unique format wherein the hopefuls would take part in a series of out-of-the-box challenges and rigorous training programs.

Moreover, this will lead to the "Circle Elimination," a sparring session that will help the coaches determine who stays and who goes in each episode.

"ONE Warrior Series opens the door of opportunity for our promising athletes and champions. It opens the door to an illustrious career and life-changing opportunities," Sangiao shared.

"Apart from that, it also shows the harsh reality of being an MMA athlete—that it's not easy, it's not just a test of physical strength and endurance but a supreme test of character, spirit, and of how far you can go and do to fight for your dream."

The second episode of ONE Warrior Series: Philippines is set to air on Sunday, September 25 at 9:35 PM (9:35 AM ET in the United States), and fans worldwide can watch it live on and the ONE Super App.