FightRoots Vale Tudo brings MMA to Katipunan

Calling all MMA and fitness addicts in the Katipunan area in Quezon City: There’s a new MMA gym in town.

FightRoots Vale Tudo is run by Carl “The Virus” Sabeniano, a former URCC lightweight champ and submission grappling gold medalist. His goal in putting up this gym is simple: To disprove stereotypes in MMA.

Gusto ko i-develop ang MMA for fitness,” says Sabeniano, who’s also an A.C.E.-certified personal trainer. “Ang notion ng iba sa MMA: bugbugan, sakitan, madugo. But MMA is actually one of the best ways to get fit. Meron ka nang cardiovascular endurance, pati aerobic at anaerobic endurance. Ma-de-develop mo lahat: strength, power, at speed. At the same time, gusto ko tanggalin ang notion na violent ang MMA. Gusto ko i-spread na MMA isn’t only for fighting but also for fitness.”Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.24.19 AM

Another martial arts stigma that Sabeniano hopes to remove with his new gym is that learning submission grappling requires lots of money.

“Goal ko talaga is to develop submission wrestlers. Ang BJJ dito sa Philippines, in my opinion, is not a poor man’s sport. Gi palang, magkano na? Gusto ko i-spread yung grappling through no-gi and submission wrestling. Maraming gustong matutunan ang grappling, the problem is hindi nila ma-afford. Sa no-gi, kahit naka t-shirt at shorts ka, basta iwan mo ego mo sa labas ng gym, have an open mind and have fun–yun lang naman kailangan mo.”

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to train at FightRoots. In my one-on-one training session with the MMA champ, we worked on conditioning using kettlebell and grappling-oriented bodyweight drills. We then worked on 8-limb striking, something Sabeniano developed through his striking base of Yaw-yan.

My favorite part (given my judo background) was the takedown drills. The takedowns were MMA-specific, meaning they factored in the possibility that your opponent could strike you as you went in for the takedown. It was also fun (an exhausting) tossing around the dummy bag (a.k.a. the “grappler’s friend”), which is a 70-pound bag that meets all of your anger management needs. We ended the session with a light roll, where I practiced the ancient technique of tapping out.


If you want to train at FightRoots, feel free to drop by their weekday classes from 4pm-6pm and 7pm-9pm. You can also schedule a free trial session on weekdays and weekends by visiting their Facebook page or contacting 0906-497-3598.

Other details

Address: Unit 204 Torres Building, 321 Katipunan Avenue, Barangay Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines

Walk-in rate: P350

Monthly unlimited rate: P3,000

Gab Pangalangan

Gab Pangalangan is a former collegiate national Judo champ and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of You can find his other works in the Philippines' leading magazines and websites.
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