Former two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of Baguio City, Philippines is no stranger to hardship in life. The 36-year-old ONE Championship veteran and Filipino martial arts icon grew up in extreme poverty, having to face the full brunt of life’s many adversities.
On May 23, Japanese reality TV star Hana Kimura, a pro wrestler, was found dead in her home due to an alleged suicide. She left notes referencing several hate messages she received online in an apparent cyberbullying incident, following an incident with another cast member on popular Netflix series, Terrace House.
Celebrities and personalities all over the world have shown support for Kimura, particularly from the martial arts community including women’s mixed martial arts icon Ronda Rousey, and ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee, among others.
Being a public figure himself, and one of the most followed martial arts athletes in the world, Folayang knows just how difficult it is to be in the spotlight -- your entire life openly critiqued by netizens you don’t know.
While he didn’t know Kimura personally, Folayang says he is sad she had to go through her ordeal.
“It’s always sad when we lose a member of the martial arts community. I didn’t know Hana Kimura personally, but I’m sure many people loved her. It’s just unfortunate that she had to go through what she had to go through. I don’t think anybody deserves that,” said Folayang.
Cyberbullying today is rampant, with people online able to freely share harsh and unwarranted opinions, without fear of any backlash or being checked. It’s reckless and irresponsible, and a problem that has plagued the internet for a long time.
“Landslide” urges people to be careful of what they say online, because we may not be aware of what a particular person is experiencing in life. As such, the Filipino superstar fully condemns any form of bullying or cyberbullying.
“For me, technology is two-faced. It can help humanity, but at the same time, it can also give some people an outlet to hurt others without consequence. I believe there is no place in the world for cyberbullying,” said Folayang.
“It’s very wrong because you’re essentially harassing someone despite not knowing anything about that person’s life or what they are going through. Depression is not something we should take lightly.”
Folayang is currently at home in Baguio City, and the veteran athlete is continuing to do his part to navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic and the effect it has had on his local community. The former world champion, alongside his teammates at Team Lakay and head coach Mark Sangiao, regularly participates in relief activities to help those in need due to the imposed nationwide community quarantine.
With all that’s going on right now, Folayang says there is no room for negativity in the world because people are dealing with enough already. He wants to send a message to people to be strong, to spread love and positivity, and not hate, and to remain hopeful that things will eventually get better.
“It’s a tough situation now but I think sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that our identity is not formed from the opinion of others. I encourage others to be strong and understand that our mistakes do not define us. Hang in there and we will all get through this together,” said Folayang.
“I also want all the people out there suffering from depression to know that you are not alone, and that many people love you -- your family, your friends. We should all help one another, especially during these difficult times.”