An island icon has returned home with the victory, but the journey was more than just another fight to win for the UFC-MMA ambassador for the Marianas.
Frank “The Crank” Camacho uses the passion for his career and uses his roots as a vehicle to bridge the gap between all the islands within the Marianas, from the place he was born – Guam — to the place where he was raised – Saipan.
“Man, the chicken kelaguen in Saipan and the chicken kelaguen in Guam, they taste the same. So it’s like man, what is the divide? Their language is still the same, everything is still the same, the people are still the same, so I would like to bridge that gap. Seeing the island come together, when we all fight, or when we have local athletes represent, it’s such a great feeling you know. Such a great unification process, or whatever you wanna call it… and I’m just using the UFC and the MMA as the vehicle to continue to do that,” he said.
Camacho shares his over 2-month journey to victory with Team Oyama from Orange County, California – against Germany’s Nick Heine, who Camacho considers one of the pioneers of MMA in Europe.
“Well, first off he’s a tough guy and he’s pretty notable in the sport. He was, what do I say, like a Germany Judo-National and International Champion, UFC Veteran. And when you google his picture, he just looks like he’s built like a tank and you’re like lechay look at this guy! But we got the TKO stoppage, I was able to finish Nick Heine in the 2nd round and I just remember after I finished it, when the ref stopped it and I put my hands up, I was just like urghhh its over, oh man it was such a relief . And it was so cool honestly it was so cool to see and to feel and to experience … all that sacrifice, all that hard work and all that being away from family and everything … and it just translated into the victory,” Camacho said.
The Crank expressed his gratitude for all the love and support that he received from the Marianas, during his most recent fight and throughout his entire career and wants to share some parting words for his fans:
“Just keep doing what you’re doing and no matter what you do, man, na’i animu, na’i animyu sa’ siempre maolek mo’na para, I lina’la miyu’ para todo nai, just keep at it work hard and chase the dream and chase the goals!”