With YouTuber Jake Paul gaining a new measure of notoriety–and a new revenue stream–through boxing, a few enterprising Pinoy YouTubers have mirrored his move by staging one-on-one events in boxing and basketball.
Though these has gone under the radar mostly, with not a few boxing fans scoffing at the publicity stunts, the Games and Amusements Board has finally stepped in, not just to make sure the YouTubers-slash-boxers are safe but also to make sure they are not making a mockery of the sport.
“We always value not only the safety of our boxers but also the integrity of boxing as a sport. Rest assured that we will investigate these boxing fights and appropriate sanctions will be meted to those who will be found responsible under our existing rules and regulations, said GAB chairman Baham Mitra.
This is just the latest pro-active move by Mitra that will make the industry miss his leadership once he steps down on June 30, 2022. Another marquee move made under his leadership was when GAB simplified the definition of a professional athlete in Philippine sports–if you get paid to play, you are a professional athlete. That swept aside years of leagues skirting being a professional league by hiding under the vague definition of a being a semi-pro.
That too may mean these YouTube One-on-One events will fall under GAB’s purview as money, sometimes as big as P2 million, is involved.
In August, 2021, during the budget deliberations for Pagcor, Deputy Speaker Bienvendio Abante Jr. told chairman Andrea Domingo about the Battle of the YouTubers, saying “recently may sumisikat na online betting na tinatawag Battle of the YouTubers, umaabot sa up to P2 million ang taya per event.”
Domingo promised to look into it. (READ STORY HERE.)
As for Mitra, aside from not following boxing protocol by having a weigh-in and license judges or even something as basic having fighters of the same category, the events seem to be “staged or scripted boxing matches.”
That’s two strikes against the organizers, GAB thinks the events seem staged or scripted, while Rep. Abente Jr. said bets as much as P2 million is involved.
We will suspend the boxers or trainers, or if not, take away their licenses if these boxing shows and their organizers are reasonably found to be exhibiting illegitimate fighting activitiesGAB chairman Baham Mitra