The largest sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), will held its inaugural event in Shanghai, China, which is set to take place on 2 September, at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center. The bustling metropolis will play host to ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI, featuring the absolute best in local and international martial arts talent.

In the main event, ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren of the United States returns to the ONE Championship cage to defend his title against challenger Zebaztian Kadestam of Sweden.

Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, stated:

“China is one of our biggest markets, and the focus has been to really bring the rich cultural history of martial arts in China to the forefront. It is a delight to finally announce our inaugural event in the beautiful city of Shanghai. We are coming at you live and ready to showcase the world’s most authentic display of martial arts. With an exhilarating main event prepared for our fans in Shanghai, Ben Askren is ready to defend his ONE Welterweight World Championship against Swedish challenger Zebaztian Kadestam. 
The interesting clash of styles should provide fans a solid matchup. Moreover, we have an amazing card planned for fans all across the world. This is a live event you would not want to miss!”

Featuring on the prelim card is Sabahan Marc Marcellinus, who is making a come back, after a 3 year hiatus from competition.

This is not Marc first fight in ONE Championship. He debut his pro career at ONE Championship 11 in 2013. Then after a year, he fought in Kuala Lumpur at ONE Championship 21. Both fight was a loss to him, but Marc is not a type of person that let pass results dictate his future. He will enter the Oval cage again for the 3rd time, this time facing Vietnamese new comer Tran Quang Loc.

This fight will also be Marc’s way of paying tribute to his late aunt that loss her life to cancer recently. Stepping into the cage is Marc’s way of continuing her fight, and to send a message that life is a continuous fight.

Born to a Kadazandusun family in Kampung Tondulu, in the district of Tambunan 85 km from Kota Kinabalu. His village is a hilly and tranquil place surrounded by beautiful paddy fields lush forest. Marc childhood years was filled with outdoor activities such as setting traps in the jungle, hunting, fishing and playing football.

“I was very fortunate to have the ‘kampung boy’ type of childhood, which is so rare these days. It was really a simple life growing up in Tambunan, with no internet or TV, so we played outside a lot. We spent a lot of time setting traps for small critters and animals, and stealing fruits from my uncle’s fruit trees (he didn’t mind!). We were also very involved in helping with the daily household chores – I remember going to the ‘kebun’ ( farm ) with my Mum to help her plant and tend to her veggies.” 

Tambunan is also a village where a resistance force fought against the Japanese occupation during World War 2. Armed with the martial arts of Silat Kuntau and the warrior spirit carried down from their head hunting ancestors, Marc’s grandfather was one of them. He is also the one that gave Marc the first exposure to martial arts when he was only just 8 years old. His grandfather instills discipline and the indomitable spirit of a warrior in Marc and his brothers.
Marc will never forget his Silat roots

When he was 15, tragedy struck. Marc lost both his parents. His father died in a car accident and his mother to cervical cancer. It was a dark time for a growing teenager. He went into a period of depression. But he always remember his father’s words.

“ He taught us to be strong as a family , to help and support each other. Not relying on relatives or other people.”

His elder sister took up the role as parent and took care of him & his 6 other siblings. Meanwhile Marc himself would take up odd jobs after schools to help support his family. To further continue his studies, Marc had to leave his village to attend boarding school in Kota Kinabalu’s SMK Likas. Being alone away from his family was initially tough.

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Boarding school is also where bullying occur. But equipped with the martial arts spirit taught by his grandfather and remembering his father’s words, Marc managed to overcome this.
In 1998, Marc packed his bags to leave Sabah to Shah Alam. He attended Universiti Teknologi MARA to study sports science. During his uni days, Marc continued his martial arts journey, earning his black belt in Shotokan Karate.
This was also the time he had the first introduction to Muay Thai. This was at a trip to Malaysia’s northern state of Kedah where Muay Thai bouts are common. Marc was fascinated by the moves and fell in love with the arts of 8 limbs.

After he graduate Marc took up jobs as fitness trainer and continue to train and compete in Muay Thai. He was actively fighting in the Malaysian scene and also fought a couple of times in Thailand. Amassing a records of more than 50 fights. During this time Marc ferocious fighting style got him the nick name Borneon Tigers, given to him by his Thai trainers.

MMA was still a new thing in Malaysia during those times. It was through Rayner Kinsiong, whom is also a ONE Championship fighter that eventually Marc met Melvin Yeoh ( Malaysia’s pioneer in MMA ) and Melvin exposed him to MMA and Marc began to learn some grappling. As both Rayner and Melvin are active in MMA those days, Marc decided to give MMA a try too and got his debut in Singapore in 2013.

“I am very grateful to Melvin and my good friend Rayner Kinsiong, who introduced me to MMA and actually got the ball rolling for me with ONE by putting me in touch with the right people.”

After fighting two times in ONE’s oval cage, Marc decided to turn to coaching and set up his own gym.

” I finally got the chance to start up my own martial arts school in Kota Kinabalu – Borneon Tigers MMA (BTMMA), focusing on spreading the art of Muay Thai and BJJ to our community 2 years ago. 
I am also very blessed to have been able to start up ‘TEAM MY MUM’, a team of young people who not only train to fight/compete but also pay special tribute to the mum’s and families who have sacrificed and paved a way for them to get where they are.


Our motto is “No-one fights alone” and I hope to instill strong family values and discipline in my students so that they approach each fight in and out of the ring with respect and confidence. “

How has the experience as coach been for him.
“One of my coaches used to tell me that there is no use having a lot of knowledge if you aren’t able to pass it on. That inspires me to in turn hopefully inspire my students to be better versions of themselves. 

Marc overseeing a striking class in BTMMA


As a fighter, I always think of my Dad who was very firm about one thing: whatever is thrown at you, you never back down or give up. That has been the bottom line for me throughout my life, that even when the circumstances were hard or unfair, giving up was never an option. “

Marc: ” the BTMMA logo of the Tiger holds a lot of meaning for me. The eyes of the logo are made of two angels – paying tribute to both my parents whom I strive to make proud everyday

BJJ is also being taught at BTMMA
What is his most memorable experience as a coach.
Seeing my students start with absolutely no martial arts experience and pressing on to later compete in both Muay Thai and K1. We have had people join us with absolutely no experience so it has been a rewarding journey moulding them and passing on the knowledge that I have managed to pick up over the years. 

Mixing it up with some outdoor training


One of my students came to us painfully shy and grossly overweight (105 kgs!) – I worked closely with him and he is now a healthy 65kgs and fights under the ‘TEAM MY MUM’ flag. Sometimes its not always about the fight in the ring, but also the confidence you are able to restore in others. I believe that it is not enough just “knowing” if you aren’t able to pass on what you have learnt.”
Marc further elaborates on TEAM MY MUM.
“Sometimes as young people grow up, they get preoccupied and take their parents and elders for granted. I lost my parents when I was really young and to this day I live my life to honour them and What they have invested in me. 
I try to teach my students that we are living in the sacrifice of our parents (and whoever has paved the way for us). With Team My Mum, We lead by example and spend as much time moulding young minds as we do in physical training. It’s important that our students are properly grounded with good family values.”

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pix by Celestine Photography

For the pass two months, Marc has switched back to the role of students as he prepares for his Shanghai fight. His previous two time venture into MMA did not brought him success in the oval cage, but mentally it toughen him up.
“ Through everything I have been through in my life, I have learnt not to let anything keep me down. They say you either win or you learn, and that you don’t actually fail until you stop.” 

I have worked on different aspects of my game and I believe this 2 Sept fight in Shanghai will be an interesting one!”

Those two loss to Marc was a great learning experience and which also made him realised that he needs to up the ante on his ground skills. This is where Anthony Perosh comes in. Marc’s BTMMA is affiliated to Anthony’s Sinosic Perosh Martial Arts (SPMA) in Sydney. Anthony is a BJJ specialist and an accomplished MMA athlete that has competed in UFC.

Marc with the towering Anthony Perosh

Fighting at featherweight, Marc is preparing his Shanghai fight at SPMA.
“The bulk of my fight prep was closely monitored by Coach Anthony. As he is based in Sydney, it made sense to complete the training there. 

Coach Anthony is tough! I would finish what I thought was a ‘good’ sparring session and he would call out to me “Marc, come over here. These are the areas where you need to improve.” 

I am usually wearing the ‘coach hat’ for my students so I appreciate it so much that Coach Anthony is doing that for me.”

going through strategy with Anthony Perosh

Ask on how is the SPMA fight camp like…
” This fight camp has been tough! I train 3 times a day focusing on both striking and groundwork. Stand up/striking has sort of always been my comfort zone, but the goal this time was to very much take a holistic approach to the game plan.” 

Training at SPMA

“We were also a lot more disciplined with my diet, focusing on eating whole foods and cutting out oil and sugar. I have eaten soooo much grilled chicken and steamed broccoli this time around! “

“I am dying for a big plate of ‘Pisang goreng’ ( banana fritters ) Haha! The diet has really made a difference in my training – with ONE’s new weigh in policy the ‘waterload’ is not allowed so it is important to eat right weeks before the fight and I really feel the difference.”

Being away from home for months certainly left Marc homesick. He misses his home town Tambunan. As this year is Visit Tambunan Year, he is hoping to bring back ONE Championship medal to Tambunan to inspire the youngsters there.
“Tambunan will always be my ‘kampung’ ( village ). I love that it is still so green and pristine, almost hidden away from the rest of the world. In modern times, it is still authentically a beautiful town where the simple life is still authentic.

I really like the Tuhau ( preserve wild ginger, a traditional delicacy of the Kadazandusun of Sabah ) from Tambunan, it takes me right back to the days when I was still a kid.”

At 37 and after 3 years absence from competitive MMA, Marc not only wants to inspire the youngsters but also wants to send a message to his students,
“No matter how the odds are stacked against you, never back down from a fight. There is strength in never giving up.”


Warriors of Borneo supports Marc Marcillenus in his ONE Championship : Shanghai fight.