Chatri Sityodtong, Founder and Chairman of ONE Championship
So this news broke recently, and really it’s a story that it’s even a story. A couple of years ago ONE Championship, then known as ONE FC, was a solid Asian promotion made up of fighters mostly from that area of the world and served as an example of the talent and competition that could sustain a market there. Certainly there were consumers to be had, as the UFC was putting (and continue to put) on shows in plays like Macau. But that’s sort of where it began it ended, a fun, peripheral side story to follow.
Well fast forward a couple of years and not only has other promotions like Rizin sprung up to create some fun competition in the Asian market, but the playing field to land talent has leveled somewhat thanks to a couple of fuck ups by the UFC (Reebok, general apathy toward fighter pay). What shakes out is Asia is now a trendy place to go for a fight career and ONE is now the name-brand destination for fighters looking to ply their trade in Asia. Yesterday’s news and this investment means that ONE is officially serious about being a major player in the global MMA scene. Will they ever compete with the UFC for overall, decided global dominance? Probably not, no. This might come off as a bit of an arrogant American point of view, but it is definitely still true that the allure of coming to live in America and fight in front of an American audience for the premier promotion is still very strong. However, for fighters who are looking to take a different root or are simply sort of over the American MMA scene, ONE is or could be a very attractive option, especially with it’s newfound financial legitimacy.