End of year report: ONE Championship

In our continued end of year look at the main movers and shakers in the world of MMA, it’s time for ONE Championship to step forward.

Attention to Detail

To say that ONE Championship has had a quiet year would be like saying Khabib Nurmagomedov was calm and collective after UFC 229. With no less than 20 events throughout 2018, the Asian promotion continues to push boundaries and march on towards world domination in what was their busiest year to date. Backed by CEO and Chairman, Chatri Sityodtong, there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight as to what the promotion can achieve. Taking in Jakarta, Manila, Yangon, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Singapore, Shanghai and Guangzhou, fans across Asia have been treated to a wealth of MMA talent from not only Asia but from across the globe.  One of the biggest selling points for ONE is how easily accessible their events are to fans across the world. With all events shown live via the ONE Championship app, the promotion continues to outdo other leading promotions when it comes to reaching out to the wider audience.

Social Development

2018 saw some incredible achievements in the world of MMA, none more so than Aung La N Sang becoming only the second man in ONE history to hold two belts in different weights. This achievement firmly cemented The Burmese Python in ONE Championship folklore as well as continuing a god like status in his Myanmar home land. 2018 also saw the Philippines stamp their authority of the promotion finishing the year with no less than five champions (Brandon Vera, Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio and Joshua Pacio) out of the nine weight classes. With incredible success stories like this, you can see why ONE appeals to so many throughout the region. Many young up and coming fighters have local heroes to follow and aspire to. This local development is not only essential but also a lifeline of MMA in the region. With their continued support and nurturing of local talent, ONE will be a main stay in the martial arts home and hotbed that is South East Asia.

Attendance

The beauty of the structure and delivery of ONE is their continued roadshow around Asia. Giving fans and martial arts enthusiasts from around the region the opportunity to see their heroes fight in their home country is something that resonates strongly with the people of South East Asia. This is backed up by the vociferous support for hometown fighters and well attended arenas throughout the region. There is a danger of over exposure but the fact that ONE covers such a wide area, means that in general each city will host around 3 or 4 events a year, making it accessible to more people across Asia.

Progress

Where to begin with this one. The progress made this year by ONE has been nothing short of phenomenal. With the acquisitions of Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez and Sage Northcutt, the promotion is setting its stall out by bolstering its already burgeoning roster of world class fighters. Meisha Tate has also joined the promotion as Vice President/brand ambassador and commentator. These additions clearly show ONE’s intent to capture the US audience, amongst others, and this has been backed up by a two-year deal with Turner Sports.

Overall Mark A+

2019 promises to be a massive year for ONE. With a global audience and 6 events already confirmed for the first quarter of next year, and an incredible 30 events scheduled for the year, we at WHOATV can only see ONE continuing to make massive strides in the world of MMA. Considering the promotion only came in to being in 2011 shows just how much dedication and effort has been put in to making ONE Championship a worldwide player and sought-after destination for fighters. 2019 will also see ONE branch out into the Japanese market with their inaugural event, A New Era, taking place in Tokyo on 31st March. This will also see promotion debuts from Johnson and Alvarez.

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