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09th Apr 2019

MMA promoter explains deal with Manny Pacquiao

Pictures of Pacquiao signing a contract with RIZIN surfaced over the weekend

Darragh Murphy

Manny Pacquiao will not be following Floyd Mayweather’s example with an exhibition bout in RIZIN FF. Not yet, anyway

Fight fans’ curiosity was piqued over the weekend when RIZIN president Nobuyuki Sakakibara tweeted photographs of Pacquiao signing a contract with the Japanese mixed martial arts promotion and many believed he was going to do exactly what Mayweather did by securing a lucrative payday for a short night’s work.

But Sakakibara has since clarified the deal he agreed with the boxing legend, revealing that Pacquiao has signed on to accept an “ambassador role for Filipino fighters to get bigger opportunities.”

Pacquiao will apparently be in Fritz Biagtan’s corner for RIZIN 15, when Biagtan fights Tenshin Nasukawa, the Japanese kickboxer who was knocked out by Mayweather in their exhibition bout at the turn of the year.

“This is not a fight contract,” Sakakibara reiterated, via MMA Fighting. “This agreement was made based off of Manny Pacquiao supporting the young Filipino fighter who will be fighting Tenshin Nasukawa.”

While Sakakibara revealed that Pacquiao would not be competing later this month, he did not rule out seeing ‘Pac-man’ take part in an exhibition bout at some stage in the future, against none other than UFC and Pride legend Takanori Gomi.

“I would (definitely) be interested in talking to Manny about a possible exhibition match, but we are not quite there yet,” Sakakibara added. “But if it happens, I don’t think it would be against Tenshin. We learned a lot from dealing with Mayweather. If anybody were to fight Manny in an exhibition, it would have to be Gomi.”