MMA: Olsim saddened as ONE: Empower fight called off

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 01 2021 02:20 PM

Team Lakay's Jenelyn Olsim. Handout photo.
Team Lakay's Jenelyn Olsim. Handout photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- Jenelyn Olsim's hopes of competing in the ONE Women's Atomweight Grand Prix has been dashed, after her opponent was forced to withdraw due to injury.

Team Lakay's Olsim was scheduled to fight American Grace Cleveland in one of two alternate bouts, with their match set for September 3 in ONE Championship's all-women fight card, ONE: Empower.

While it was set as an alternate bout, Olsim viewed her showdown with Cleveland as a golden opportunity, and was devastated when it was cancelled.

"It's just so sad. I, together with my team, was really preparing hard for this match," she said.

Olsim earned her spot as an alternate after an impressive victory over Vietnamese-American standout Bi "Killer Bee" Nguyen at ONE: Battleground III just last Friday. For Olsim, it was an opportunity to increase her stock in the stacked atomweight division.

However, Cleveland needed to withdraw as she is dealing with a severe case of dizziness and a possible case of vertigo.

Though disappointed, Olsim was concerned for Cleveland and wished her a speedy recovery.

"The whole team is praying for the fast and complete recovery of Grace Cleveland. Nobody wants to see these things happening, especially if it's a medical issue," said Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao. 

"So we can only pray that she can recover and that's really the most important thing for us at this time," he added.

Sangiao had been charged to ensure Olsim was in prime shape to step up to a short-notice call to action. The fight would have served as the curtain-raiser for the much-anticipated event, and a chance to prove that the former Asian Games silver medalist is a force to be reckoned with at atomweight.

"It's unfortunate because we were all looking forward to this fight and Jenelyn has really been training hard for this. But we fully understand the situation and all we're after is everyone's health and well being," said the coach.

Olsim said she is ready to step up should anyone withdraw from the Atomweight Grand Prix for any reason.

"I am staying positive despite what happened. I know that I am still an eligible alternate for the Grand Prix, and I know that there's still a lot of opportunities awaiting me, so I just have to be prepared every time," she said.