After nearly two decades together, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang and Team Lakay have officially parted ways.
In a statement released by the two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion, he revealed that he has said his goodbyes to the team he helped form and has called home for the past 16 years, a squad where he experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows with.
“For the last 16 years of my professional career as a mixed martial artist, I was in the company of brave and talented individuals in Team Lakay. This stable was a large element in what I have become in our beloved sport,” he said in his statement.
“But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Sadly, and with a heavy heart, my journey with Team Lakay has reached its final stretch.”
Folayang shared that the move is vital to his career, believing that a new environment will be crucial as he tries to end his struggles inside the ONE circle.
There’s still no word as to where the 39-year-old will land, but one thing’s for sure, he won’t be donning the signature red shorts the next time fans see him in the Circle.
“I believe there are still a few things I must accomplish in what remains in my active years as a competitor,” he said.
“The profession I have chosen requires me to learn, evolve, and grow. In order for me to achieve this, I must step out of the confines of my comfort zone and discover new ways to nurture my development as a martial artist.”
Together with head coach Mark Sangiao, Folayang jump-started the mixed martial movement in the Philippines – turning a small wushu club that shared a space with a butcher shop in the market in Baguio City to the Team Lakay that we know of today, one of the biggest and most recognizable squads in Asia.
Under the team, Folayang did the unthinkable, knocking out Japanese MMA legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in 2016 to win the ONE Lightweight World Title, a feat he repeated two years later when he beat Amir Khan for the strap yet again.
It was also in 2018 where the team’s success was at its peak. Aside from Folayang, the team held three other ONE World Titles in the form of strawweight king Joshua Pacio, flyweight titleist Geje Eustaquio, and bantamweight champion Kevin Belingon.
It’s a memory that Folayang will cherish forever.
“Words will not suffice to aptly impart how grateful I am for our camaraderie that has led to our achievements and victories inside the Circle, as well as the heartbreaks that have driven us to keep going in pursuit of our ultimate goal. I will forever cherish every moment like a precious treasure,” he said.
“I extend my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to Team Lakay. I wish no less than the best for Coach Mark and everyone under his wing. This is not a goodbye, but so long for now.”