Frank “The Crank” Camacho, despite having achieved a local celebrity status and slowly getting recognition in the Ultimate Fighting Championship arena, continues to enjoy a simple life.
“I’m just very humbled and honored on where I am right now. This is now my career, my job. Now being a pro athlete, I know there’s more pressure on my part to represent myself and family but most especially our islands,” Camacho told Saipan Tribune in an exclusive interview.
“It is very cool and never did I know that coming from a small island, I could make a difference. I will just continue to make sure I work hard and have a good head on my shoulders. Don’t let a little bit of fame get into my head and remember my roots and where I came from, ” said the Guam-born, but Saipan-raised mixed martial arts fighter, who started with the CNMI’s junior golf program together with Rev. Fr. James Balajadia before shifting to MMA.
He continues to stay on the path that his elders showed him and remembers his humble beginnings that endeared him not only to the people of the Marianas, but also to those who saw him fight elsewhere, like in Australia.
“The coolest part is how the Australian fans treated me. When I walked down, there were no boos. After the fight I received a lot of messages on social media. Everywhere there were positive reviews. It is so cool that they appreciate me with the way I act,” said Camacho. “It’s a representation of where I came from. I’m so glad people around the world are getting to know where the Marianas is, where Saipan is. I’m just happy that they’re learning about Saipan through me, that’s why I continue to do what I do best, fight hard and be as nice as I can.”
He added that after he beat local bet Damien “Beatdown” Brown during their bout last Sunday in Sydney, Australian fans congratulated and thanked him for having a great fight that went to full three rounds. Their duel was the fourth for the night in a stacked 12-bout undercard. Camacho defeated Brown by split decision in the UFC Fight Night 121: Werdum VS Tybura at the Qudos Bank Arena to improve his record to 21-5.
The 28-year-old, who is married to 2012 Miss Guam Earth Sarah Filush Camacho, epitomizes the island living everywhere he goes. “I came from humble beginnings. As long as I have the island way of living, I’m good. I’m a very simple guy and I’m not flashy.”
“If they ask me to wear a suit, and people need me to do it, I’m going to ask them if I can wear zoris,” Camacho added with a laugh. “Suit and zoris, I’m up to that. I’m an Island Boy. As long as I have zoris, food, and board shorts and a tank top that I can go swim in, I’m good to go.”
TrenchTech Saipan owner Cuki Alvarez, Purebred Jiu-jitsu Guam owner Steve Roberto, and Melchor Manibusan were at Camacho’s corner when he fought in Australia. Alvarez is Team Crank’s overall head coach, Roberto is Camacho’s Jiu-jitsu instructor and MMA coach, while Manibusan helps him in wrestling and also in MMA.
“Cuki just brought Saipan with him in Australia. Everyone loved him. It was a very good experience for all of us,” added Camacho, who recalled seeing Alvarez jump for joy once he was declared the winner of the fight.