When Eduard “Landslide” Folayang isn’t busy trading leather inside the ONE Championship Circle, he keeps himself occupied by competing in a different arena altogether – a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA).
Yes, the former ONE Lightweight World Champion is an active MOBA gamer – often playing Mobile Legends: Bang Bang under the name “The.Landslide” – and he kept himself busy during the year-long lockdown in the Philippines by streaming and playing with fans.
He also formed “Truth X Lakay Gaming” along with ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, former ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, and former heavyweight king Brandon “The Truth” Vera last October.
“The experience has been majorly good. I’ve been getting better at it and, in a way, there are a lot of similarities with this game and our sport, especially when it comes to teamwork,” Folayang says.
Despite being a Filipino mixed martial arts icon, Folayang isn’t exempt from some of the online toxicity.
The gaming community is generally a fun and bubbly bunch. But sometimes, as with any form of association, there are players who make things less enjoyable.
“There’s a pretty high level of toxicity in the game at times. There are negative players and other players who just really take the game by the heart,” Folayang says.
“Of course, they only see that I’m the one who’s playing when I’m streaming live, but there are moments that I play outside of it and that’s when I become anonymous.”
Occasionally, things get heated in the online community and some players will actually want to get physical with “Landslide” in real life. But the three-time ONE Lightweight World Champion usually laughs it off.
“There are times when they become really toxic to the point that they’ll really challenge you to a fistfight. That’s crazy,” Folayang says.
“Of course, it’s up to us to return that into a positive way. Sometimes you become playful with them, and you ask them, ‘Can you really do that?’ But you want to divert their attention really to the fact that being tough behind your phone doesn’t really make you tough in reality. In real life, you have to prove it.”
And this is where an added responsibility comes in for athletes who are using their platform to reach out to younger and much more angsty audiences.
- Joshua Pacio Expects New Wave Of Filipino World Champions In ONE
- Muay Thai Sisters Wondergirl, Supergirl Open To Family Battle
- 5 MMA Fights We Want To See In The Second Half Of 2021
The 37-year-old believes that public figures are crucial to building a much more fun environment for everyone.
And due to the wide accessibility of games like Mobile Legends, he believes that people should be mindful of what they say online considering that kids might emulate various types of toxicity.
“Being an athlete, there are a lot of lessons we can impart to the players in this game. I think we can be comparable to influencers [because] it’s our responsibility to influence them in a good way. As much as possible, we want to impart positivity,” Folayang states.
“I just want to remind everyone that gaming, at the end of the day, is for our entertainment. It defeats the purpose if we’re going to stress ourselves about it.
“There’s also a better chance for us to win if we’re together. We’re working for a common goal after all, so the more you work with your teammates, the better the chances of winning.”
It’s no secret that Folayang is the type of human being who preaches teamwork, positivity, and sacrifice in both the Circle and the online arenas.
But how good is he at gaming compared to his younger and more tech-savvy Team Lakay stablemates like Pacio and Danny “The King” Kingad?
While “Landslide” has improved dramatically since the beginning of 2020, the Filipino icon admits the two martial arts prodigies are still a little better.
“It’s truly like martial arts in a sense that the more you spend time with it, the better you get at it. Right now, I feel like I’ve leveled up as a player in less than the year that I’ve played it,” he offers.
“Would I say I can beat Joshua now? Let’s just say that I’ve leveled up from the time I started. I wouldn’t say that I can beat him already, but I think I’m already catching up to their level.”