Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang has taken on the best martial artists in the world in ONE Championship, but now he is battling in an entirely different arena.
Ahead of ONE: CENTURY PART II in Japan – where the two-division World Champion will defend his ONE Light Heavyweight World Title against Brandon “The Truth” Vera – the Myanmar hero has become an ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
It was not long ago that the 34-year-old’s country was a thriving home to elephants, tigers, bears, turtles, and, of course, the Burmese python. However, it has been ravaged by poachers in recent years.
The WWF has stepped up to help Myanmar’s endangered wildlife. But they also enlisted the help of the Hardknocks 365 representative.
“My dad used to have elephants when we were kids,” Aung La N Sang says.
“My dad is a jade miner, and they use elephants while mining jade – and elephants are my favorite animals. [The WWF] asked me if I would be interested in doing a campaign with them, and I said yes.”
As an animal lover, the 34-year-old was enthusiastic about getting involved with any project that could help the welfare of his homeland’s indigenous species, which opened his eyes to just how critical the situation was.
“That led to more pressing issues, like the fact that the elephants might go extinct in Myanmar,” he adds.
“A lot of the animals might go extinct because of poaching and all these hunters trying to make money.”
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According to the WWF, there are fewer than 50,000 Asian elephants in existence, and because of poachers, fewer than 2,000 of these majestic creatures call Myanmar home.
Back in 2018, the charity raised more than $260,000 to fund anti-poaching efforts, which led to 13 arrests.
The Myanmar government also seized and destroyed elephant tusks, pangolin scales, and other animal parts worth over $1.3 million on the black market.
“It’s very sad,” Aung La N Sang says. “It’s not just elephants, but also tigers and a lot of wildlife are being killed. It’s not even that much money for these poachers killing the animals.”
He has done his part by making a pledge not to buy, use or sell elephant products, and to keep wild elephants safe. He has also urged his compatriots and people around the world to do the same to help end the illegal wildlife trade in Myanmar.
Almost everything Aung La N Sang does generates headline news in Myanmar, so his message can reach a huge proportion of the population.
His vast social media following and his starring role on the huge platform that The Home Of Martial Arts offers means his influence spreads across the globe, too.
Although so much of his time is taken up with training, “The Burmese Python” is delighted to do what he can to try and make a difference with a cause that is so close to his heart.
“It’s something good I can do with my platform. I was really on board as soon as [the WWF] told me about it,” Aung La N Sang says.
“We’re put in a place where we have this platform, and it’s important that we use it to make our future better – to make the world a better place.”
- Watch PART I in USA on 12 October at 8pm EST and PART II on 13 October at 4am EST
- Watch PART I in India on 13 October at 5:30am IST and PART II at 1:30pm IST
- Watch PART I in Indonesia on 13 October at 7am WIB and PART II at 3pm WIB
- Watch PART I in Singapore on 13 October at 8am SGT and PART II at 4pm SGT
- Watch PART I in the Philippines on 13 October at 8am PHT and PART II at 4pm PHT
- Watch PART I in Japan on 13 October at 9am JST and PART II at 5pm JST
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.