ONE Championship intent on bringing in even more world champions
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 18, 2018 01:56 PM
With 94 world champions across different disciplines of martial arts, ONE Championship is home to the largest collection of world champions in the world. (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
Just seven years since their inception, ONE Championship has exploded into not just the premier mixed martial arts organization in Asia, but the biggest martial arts organization in the world.
Currently boasting a roster that’s 450 athletes deep, featuring 94 world champions from across different disciplines of martial arts, ONE Championship, by far, has the biggest collection of martial arts talent, globally.
On a global conference call for the upcoming ONE: HEART OF THE LION event on 9 November in Singapore, ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong spoke in detail about ONE Championship’s extensive roster of elite talent and their continuing efforts to draw in even more stars from all across the martial arts world.
“We are upgrading our roster everywhere, but we already have 94 world champions from various martial arts, Muay Thai, kickboxing, boxing, MMA, BJJ, etcetera, and our roster of 450 athletes, if you look at the ratio, 94 world champions, it’s the largest collection of world champions from martial arts, globally,” Sityodtong shared.
Even more world-class talent was added to that already-stacked roster with the recent acquisition of multiple-time world champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, who immediately bolsters ONE Championship’s deep lightweight division that already features stars such as former ONE Lightweight World Champions Shinya Aoki and Eduard Folayang, and Amir Khan, just to name a few.
Sityodtong added that the acquisition of Alvarez, one of the company’s biggest athlete signings, is just the beginning.
“Eddie is the first of our big signings, I think you will be surprised by announcements coming in the future,” he mentioned.
Recently, ONE has widened its global footprint to 1.7 billion viewers on any given night in over 138 countries around the world, and that kind of exposure is nothing short of a dream come true for a martial artist who’s looking to showcase to the world what he or she can do.
ONE Championship’s massive reach was most evident during their ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES event in Bangkok, Thailand, which was easily the country’s biggest martial arts event.
Headlined by a WBC Super Flyweight World Championship bout between Thai boxing icon Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Mexican challenger Iran Diaz, ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES was seen by 25 million viewers, an exponential increase from what used to be a mere 700 thousand viewers per event.
It doesn’t stop there, as ONE Championship plans to achieve 100 million viewers per event within the next three years, and they plan on doing that by breaking into new market countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and India.
With these statistics in mind, Sityodtong extended an enticing invitation to martial artists from across the world who are looking to ply their trade on the biggest stage in the world.
“If you look across all the martial arts, we have the best roster, globally, and every free agent, globally, should think about ONE Championship, if they want to fight and compete on the biggest global stage of martial arts and get paid like a world champion should get paid, I think that's our value proposition,” he expressed confidently.
A lifelong martial artist himself, Sityodtong believes that ONE Championship is an organization that is built on celebrating and promoting what is considered as Asia’s greatest cultural treasure: martial arts.
“ONE Championship, I always say, is led by martial artists, for martial artists, it’s a very different organization compared to the other organizations,” he stated.
It is this celebration of martial arts and this collection of world-class talent that makes ONE Championship the powerhouse that they are in the industry.
The Singapore-based promotion is one of only two martial arts companies in the world with valuations in the US$1 billion-plus range, and recently, Sityodtong revealed that ONE Championship has over USD $250 million of capital on their balance sheet to work with.
Projections show even more success for the promotion moving forward, as sources close to the company confirm that ONE Championship is on pace to exceed USD $100 million in revenue in the near future.
With all the success that ONE Championship has amassed, it is easy to forget that they have only been around for seven years.
At this rate, they only way for the company to go is up, and as they continue to attract the biggest names in martial arts an as long as they continue Asia’s greatest cultural treasure in its purest form, the sky's the limit for ONE Championship, moving forward.