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May 6, 2011 > Macalolooy wins Rebel Fighter Explosive

Macalolooy wins Rebel Fighter Explosive

By Mihir Bhagat

Wouldn't it be great to have a local professional athlete? Well, fortunately for the Tri-Cities, there is a successful professional athlete residing in Union City, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Jonathon Macalolooy.

Affectionately known as JONMAC, Macalolooy is fresh off a unanimous victory at Rebel Fighter Explosive, an MMA event at the Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth last month, and finished with a score of 30-27. He absolutely dominated his opponent Sam Stevens-Milo, taking him down in every round.

Macalolooy is a Union City native who graduated from James Logan High School in 2003, moving onto San Diego State where he received his degree in kinesiology in 2008.

At the young age of 5, Macalolooy began training in martial arts, diving into wrestling a short time after. With the extensive devotion to the sport, Macalolooy translated it into high school success at Logan. In 2002, he was named the North Coast Section wrestling champion. And ever since, he's stuck with it and taken his talents as far as they can take him.

"Being involved in such combative elements seemed to just point in the same direction," said Macalolooy, who trains and teaches at the Dragons Den in Union City, and encourages all interested fighters to come by and check it out. "It wasn't like I just woke up one day and said I want to be a professional MMA fighter because it looked cool. One thing just led to the next on my path and I ended up here."

Getting in a ring to take on opponents in a one-on-one capacity runs in the Macalolooy blood. Jonathon's older brother Jeff was involved in martial arts and wrestling, while his dad and uncles boxed while back in the Philippines. He credits a lot of his success to his family.

"It was a family thing, and still is," he noted. "Family has always been the most important thing in my life and being Filipino, that includes my extended family as well. They not only ground me, but have always been my biggest form of support."

Macalolooy began his professional career in October 2008 in San Diego. After winning his first fight, the obstacles began to pile on. He remembered back to the early days of his career, and the challenges with scheduling fights.

"There were about four occasions where fighters either pulled out, or shows got cancelled, sometimes even just weeks beforehand," he said. "It was definitely hard to deal with, but it's common for those just starting out."

When Macalolooy moved back to Union City, he finally had his second fight, in May 2010. However, he suffered a nasty blow during what he referred to as a "freak accident," where he would end up breaking both his tibia and fibula while throwing a kick. Nevertheless, Macalolooy persevered with tremendous determination.

That determination culminated in the victory at Rebel Fighter Explosive, showing that his leg is completely healed and he's ready to compete. Now with the injury behind him, Macalolooy is looking to improve off his 2-1 record (his only loss coming as a result of a medical stoppage due to his broken leg).

"You are only as good as your last fight or competition," said a humbled Macalolooy. "If you put weight on past accomplishments, then the hunger is no longer as strong."

Like most fighters, his ultimate goal is to become a world champion. In the time being, he said he'd like to simply live life in the present.

"I like to focus on just constantly improving one match at a time and to constantly evolve my game," he said, including helping others at the art of MMA. "I want to be able to continue teaching my craft and sharing my passion. I would love to make a career out of just teaching martial arts because we all know you can't fight forever."

MMA isn't for everyone. It's a sport that requires hours and hours of training and, when in the ring against an opponent, it can be painful. Now that he's a professional, Macalolooy has become an inspiration and role model for many. His advice to those aspiring MMA fighters was simple: "I suggest you make sure you love it." Macalolooy certainly has garnered a love for the sport, and remains optimistic, even through the tough days of training.

"The training can become very brutal and tiresome if your heart is not in it," said Macalolooy, who trains six days a week, with most training days two-a-day sessions. "But if the training is hard, the fight is easy.

"Be willing to check your ego at the door if you plan on acquiring new skills, but more importantly, make sure you come to table with some skills to begin with," added Macalolooy. "Getting punched in the face for the first time is a huge shock for most people. Go figure, right?"

MMA has developed tremendously in recent years. According to Macalolooy, MMA has picked up so much popularity, fighters can only compete if they have decent skills in all of the four main disciplines, Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling and Jiu Jitsu. Now, Macalolooy noted, "Fighters are much more well-rounded."

Moreover, partly due to the intensity he spoke of, MMA is rapidly growing onto the mainstream audience. As for why, Macalolooy thinks he knows the reason.

"It's so real," said Macalolooy. "There is no escape or blame. It is simply you and your opponent testing each other's heart and skill."

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