EXCLUSIVE | Brandon Vera opens up on key difference between ONE Championship and the UFC

Brandon Vera

Brandon Vera has been a ONE Championship fighter since 2014. In the years since he joined the ONE Championship roster, he’s fought in his ancestral homeland of The Philippines, become one of the promotion’s biggest stars, and even captured its heavyweight title.

To say Brandon Vera has enjoyed his time with ONE would be understatement. Speaking on episode 102 of BJPENN.COM Radio, Vera heaped praised on the Asian MMA powerhouse.

“Honestly man, if I can sum it up in one word… the word [would be] ‘respect,'” Brandon Vera said of his relationship with ONE Championship. “That word alone. They give the fighters the respect that they deserve as modern day samurai, as modern day elite athletes, as modern day gladiators. They treat them well for the performance that they want to see. That’s the only way I can explain it, is the amount of respect that they give to, each and everyone single one of the athletes. The attention to detail that they do for you and how well prepared they are for you, so that you can just do your job and perform to the best that evening [of your fight]. They make everything so easy for the athletes.

“It’s very, very impressive,” he continued.” And what I am enjoying even more is, because I am with the company, I am biased. But seeing other people coming in and from other promotions, even as coaches or cornermen, cutman, seconds, everybody that’s coming in is seeing ONE Championship in action first hand at the events or how the fighters, athletes and everyone’s treated. This is how it should have been since day one.”

“ONE Championship is setting the bar for that. Honestly, I’ll tell you like this like 95% of modern day athletes, warriors, mixed martial artists, martial artists, just want to be treated with the amount of respect that ONE is giving. [When they get that respect] they will give you their all, and it is showing in all of the performances at all of the events.”

Brandon Vera, of course, has not always been a ONE Championship fighter. Prior to his stint with the promotion, he was signed with the UFC. His opinions of the American promotion are not nearly as complimentary.

“The same word that I used to describe ONE Championship is the exact same word that I used when I told [UFC President] Dana White the reason why I was leaving the company,” he said. “They had no respect for any of the athletes. The way they spoke to them, the way they treated them. The way that they talked to them or the way they looked at them.”

For any free agents out there who are considering making the jump from a mainstream North American promotion to ONE Championship, Brandon Vera has just one piece of advice. Just reach out and see what happens.

“Talk to somebody from ONE Championship,” he said. “Reach out, send an email. If you are a free agent, find out if you qualify to be fighting for ONE Championship. Find out there’s a place and home for you and see if ONE Championship can do anything with you.”

Brandon Vera has not fought since December of 2016, when he knocked out Hideki Sekine to retain the ONE heavyweight title. Since then, he’s been busy with a budding film career and an array of philanthropic efforts, but he plans to return to the cage very soon.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/22/2018.