Alvin Ang knew from the get-go that him being one of the 16 global candidates in The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition is already a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
But never in his wildest dreams did he think he would get an up close look and even bump elbows with his idol Georges “Rush” St-Pierre.
“It was a crazy opportunity, right? GSP versus Nick Diaz was the fight in 2013 that got me into MMA. It was the thing that started this journey,” he said in the reunion show.
St-Pierre and fellow MMA legend Renzo Gracie surprised the candidates in episode two when they reeled down from 11-foot high for the physical challenge. Ang was truly left in awe and was visibly starstruck when St-Pierre took the side of Team Conquest.
“Having it come full circle and getting to meet Georges in real life and having him in our corner for our team doing the challenge was an insane experience. And yeah, I couldn’t think of a better way for my journey to come full circle. It’s quite crazy,” said the 24-year-old sport entrepreneur from Singapore.
It was already a surreal experience for Alvin to meet GSP, but what made it more memorable was seeing the vulnerabilities of one of the best fighters to ever step in the cage.
“What struck me the most was that Georges was such a genuine and super nice guy,” recounted Ang, who like St-Pierre, also had a fear of heights.
“He was terrified of heights, right? So despite being terrified of heights, he wasn’t all macho and he admitted to us his fear, which helped a lot because I believe Eugene [Chung] was scared of heights as well, and he was super scared,” he recounted.
Yet Alvin, seemingly buoyed by how St-Pierre conquered his fears, found the courage and reeled from up high, much to Team Conquest’s delight.
“I was scared, but I couldn’t let the team know. I couldn’t let George down so I had to do it,” he proudly said. “It was one of the most trippy experiences in my life. Looking up and seeing GSP rappel down like an alien, it was pretty cool.”
Ang’s exhilarating experience in The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition isn’t limited to St-Pierre only. The lifelong MMA fan also relished the opportunity to learn from ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. Despite lasting just two episodes and being the first cut along with Roman Wilson, Ang treasured his time in the competition and admitted that he has learned a lot from the man that built ONE Championship from the ground up.
“I think Chatri cares more about people than people think. That’s not to say that he comes across as aloof or anything like that, but he has an image, this alpha bossman image. But I think deep down, he really genuinely cares about people,” he said.
Alvin looked back on his final boardroom, where he, Wilson, and Chung faced elimination and said that unlike what was seen in the episode, Chatri and ONE Senior Vice President Niharika Singh actually encouraged them to stay the course despite falling early in this high-stakes game of business competitions and physical challenges all for the prize of a $250,000 job offer as Sityodtong’s protégé and chief of staff at the ONE Championship Global Headquarters in Singapore.
“I remember Eugene, Roman, and I were getting eliminated and [Chatri] and Niharika took the time out [to talk to us],” he said.
“I don’t think it was shown on episodes, but he took the time out to tell us that, ‘Hey, wherever you go from here, [you’ll do well].’ He didn’t say as many words, but he was like this is just a show and due to the competition, it’s winner takes all. Just the fact that I was able to get in, I’ve already proved some things. So he told us to just hold our chin up and carry on.”
That left a lasting mark to him, that despite Sityodtong’s fierce persona, he truly has a heart to teach his prospective apprentices to unleash their inner greatness.
“There are several other instances, but that has, to me, shows that he cares more about people than people think,” Alvin said.
The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition is showing across Asia on AXN, the show’s official Asian broadcast partner, with markets to include Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition is also be available on other platforms and TV networks across Asia, including MediaCorp (Singapore), Abema (Japan), KompasTV (Indonesia), Amarin TV (Thailand), LINE TV (Thailand), TV5 Network (Philippines), and HTV (Vietnam).