The Crank: I’m here to inspire others


Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council vice chair Diego Kaipat, left, congratulates Frank “The Crank” Camacho, right, after presenting him with a special resolution recognizing his achievements before the start of last week’s Rites of Passage 22: Rampage at the Marianas Business Plaza parking lot in Susupe. (Jon Perez)

Frank “The Crank” Camacho has come a long way with his mixed martial arts career since making his debut more than 10 years ago inside a rectangular cage for the first MMA event on Saipan at the old Trench Tech Gym in Gualo Rai.

He has fought in a number of MMA events on Saipan and Guam—Trench Warz, Rites of Passage, Pacific Xtreme Combat, and Gerran Haga—and in the Universal Reality Combat Championship in the Philippines.

The 28-year-old Camacho (20-5 with 15 of his wins via knockout and three by submission) also took some time off from fighting and even moved for a few years to Camp Springs in Maryland to train under legendary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor Lloyd Irvin.

But his goal was to finally make it to the Ultimate Fighting Championship stage, which became a reality on June 17 this year when he was among the 11 undercard bouts in UFC 111: Holly Holm vs. Bethe Correia main event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.

Camacho faced Jingliang “The Leech” Li of China (13-4 with four wins by KOs and five by submission) in the fourth undercard match that ended in the latter’s favor via a three-round unanimous decision.

Camacho told Saipan Tribune that he sees his UFC loss in a positive way, adding that he learned a lot from that fight that would help him grow more as an MMA warrior. “I’m not yet done with my MMA journey. I would continue to dream and do it because I inspire others to also give their best and reach for their goals.”

“I’m at that level where I have the heart and skill to fight. The drive to make it to the next stage, so I’ll use that [UFC] loss and come back a better and smarter fighter next time,” he added after receiving a special resolution given by the Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council.

The council—chair Luis John “L.J.” Castro, vice chair Diego Kaipat, and secretary Antonia Tudela—awarded the citation before the start of the matches in last week’s Rites of Passage 22: Rampage at the Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe.

“I’m surprised with the award that the council gave me. All I know was I’m going to be a referee in a couple of fights, help some of my friends at their corner, and enjoy the rest of the night. I’m honored with what they gave me,” said Camacho.

“I just want to tell the other fighters, especially those who are just starting, to never stop training and believing in yourself. MMA in the CNMI has grown tremendously with the community’s support and we are thankful for that,” added Camacho, who is now based in Guam.

UFC fighter
Camacho said that he was a last-minute replacement against Li. “The organizers saw one of fights and talked to me to join them. I signed a four-fight deal with them and I fought this year. Actually, it was short notice and we took the opportunity.”

“I’m trying to again fight either in November or December this year. We’re still negotiating for me to be included in another event later this year,” said Camacho, who used to be a CNMI junior golfer along with now Rev. Fr. James Balajadia.

Camacho is also not the first from the Marianas to have the chance to be featured in a UFC fight event.

“We also found out that I’m not the first in the Marianas to fight professionally in UFC. We found out that Anthony Torres was the first to ever fight in UFC. He was born and raised here on Saipan and moved to Hawaii where he is now based,” said Camacho.

Torres, known as “The Crush,” fought in the undercard bout of UFC Fight Night 6 on Aug. 17, 2006 at the Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada. He opened the event against Pat Healy winning by rear-naked-choke submission with 2:37 in the first round.

Torres holds a pro record of five wins and three losses with two of his victories by KO and another two by submission. He has not fought since losing by decision to Josh “Killa” Calvo (9-4 with 1 win by KO and six by submission) in PXC 38 in Guam last Aug. 9, 2013.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.