Tensions were always high in The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition that the 16 global candidates always thought that you could cut the atmosphere with a knife.
That’s what happens when you’re in the middle of this high-stakes game of business competition and physical challenges for the prize of the $250,000 job offer as ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong’s protégé and chief of staff at the ONE Championship Global Headquarters in Singapore.
But there’s no incident that perfectly encapsulated the heated environment the candidates were in than when Eugene Chung and Clinton Tudor seemingly came to blows after the physical task in episode four.
With the two teams battling in bubble football, Chung went on the offensive and ruthlessly bumped the opposing team, including Tudor. Team Valor, meanwhile, was fully aware of the edge Team Conquest had with Niraj Puran Rao, an experienced footballer in his own right.
In the end, though, Team Conquest’s strategy worked with Joy Koh scoring the lone goal after 10 minutes.
But the battle didn’t end from there, with Clinton and Eugene engaging in a grappling match much to the surprise of everyone, including guest star “Super” Sage Northcutt.
Yet Eugene clarified that the whole incident was nothing less than a play-wrestle.
“What happened to us in Sentosa Beach was pretty interesting,” he shared, saying that the incident was actually building up from the morning of the challenge. “Me and Louie [Sangalang] kind of already trained before the competition began and it was me, Alvin [Ang], Louie, and Niraj.”
“All the boys kind of went to the gym and we all were sparring with each other. Niraj was on the side just lifting weights, watching us what we do, and we’re just testing each other out. I already knew that Louie already had MMA experience and I heard that he was an MMA champion. So basically on the beach, we decided to play-wrestle because in Hawaii, that’s what a lot of us do. We basically go on the beach in the sand and it’s gonna be safe, you’re not going to get hurt. And so basically, we play-wrestled there.”
That was when Clinton, an alpha in his own right, entered the picture.
“And so in the middle of the play-wrestling, I remember Clinton coming up to us and he wants to kind of join in because he knows fun and the boys were just doing our thing. And I think Clinton also has mixed martial arts experience but in a different field. That was the time when everyone kind of had a tension with Clinton at that point,” he shared.
Given the tense situation and the outsided egos between the two candidates, it was bound for a confrontation to happen.
And it wasn’t hard to light a spark under the two, with Sho Takei one of those who egged the two to get it on.
“I think Sho overheard and Sho was just like, ‘Eugene and Clinton, let’s go!’ And everybody overheard that too, and everybody just started surrounding us. Basically, the pressure is on right there. We had to kind of do a small wrestling match. We did one round, first to take down, nothing else after that,” he said.
It wasn’t until Refinery Media founder Karen Seah intervened and put a stop on the instant judo match that doused the fracas.
“Karen came over and started yelling at us because we’re just starting trouble,” Eugene recounted.
Chung could only smile looking back at that incident as he clarified that there’s really no hard feelings between them.
“Those were fun times,” he said, even relating that they connect with each other from time-to-time.
“My relationship with Clinton after the show was pretty cordial,” he said. “I know that everything that happens on the show just happens. It’s good television. Nothing personal with anybody and I know that.”
“So me and him communicate here and there on Instagram. I see that he’s doing very well and he’s really focused on the martial arts, muay thai niche in New Zealand, so I’m very happy to hear that and very happy to see him be proactive with that.”
It’s a good footnote for two of the most polarizing candidates in The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition, one that both could look back on with smiles on their faces.
“It was just fun times. Good memories,” said Chung.