|Founded||July 14, 2011|
|Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman/CEO|
Victor Cui, CEO
Miesha Tate, VP
Rich Franklin, VP
Matt Hume, VP of Operations
ONE Championship (formerly known as ONE Fighting Championship or ONE FC) is a Singapore-based mixed martial arts (MMA), Muay Thai, kickboxing, boxing, and grappling promotion which was launched on 14 July 2011 by entrepreneur Chatri Sityodtong and former ESPN Star Sports senior executive Victor Cui. ONE Championship broadcasts to over 1.7 billion potential viewers in 136 countries. ONE Championship is backed by Sequoia Capital and Temasek Holdings.
According to several prominent media outlets such as Forbes, ONE Championship is Asia's largest global sports media property, as well as the world's largest martial arts organization. Notable fighters on the roster include Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, Nieky Holzken, Angela Lee, Aung La N Sang, Sage Northcutt, Martin Nguyen, Eduard Folayang, Giorgio Petrosyan, Yodsanklai Fairtex, Kevin Belingon, Bibiano Fernandes, Roger Gracie, Brandon Vera, Shinya Aoki, and Xiong Jing Nan.
The first ONE Championship event was held on 3 September 2011 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The promotion has since expanded across the Asian region. ONE Championship has held 83 events to date with shows being held in Singapore, Jakarta, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Taipei, Phnom Penh, Beijing, Guangzhou, Yangon, Changsha, Hefei, Macau and Bangkok. The organization plans to further expand into Seoul, Tokyo, and Vietnam in 2019.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Formation
- 1.2 The ONE Championship ethos
- 1.3 Inaugural event
- 1.4 International expansion
- 1.5 Ten-year ESPN Star Sports partnership
- 1.6 First female fight
- 1.7 Signing Shinya Aoki and Bibiano Fernandes
- 1.8 ONE FC Network
- 1.9 Appointment of Matt Hume
- 1.10 Introduction of ONE FC titles
- 1.11 Signing Ben Askren
- 1.12 Appointment of Rich Franklin
- 1.13 Further international expansion
- 1.14 Ownership and finances
- 1.15 Sponsorship
- 1.16 Rebranding
- 1.17 Rich Franklin's ONE Warrior Series
- 1.18 Partnership with Global Citizen
- 1.19 ONE Super Series
- 1.20 First boxing bout with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
- 1.21 Attracting North American talent
- 1.22 Recognition by Association of Ringside Physicians
- 1.23 Appointment of Miesha Tate
- 2 Rules
- 3 Television broadcast
- 4 Awards
- 5 ONE Championship events
- 6 Current champions
- 7 Tournament winners
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
ONE Championship was launched as "ONE FC" at a press conference in Singapore on 14 July 2011. The ONE FC fighters unveiled at the press conference included Anuwat Kaewsamrit, Eduard Folayang, Yodsanan Sityodtong, Ole Laursen, Leandro Issa, Orono Wor Petchpun and Rolles Gracie.
Victor Cui stated that by the first event on September 3, ONE Championship would be in more than 500 million homes across Asia.
The ONE Championship ethos
Founder, Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong had made his millions on Wall Street, but his lifelong passion was martial arts. He believed that it was Asia's "cultural treasure", yet there was no Pan-Asian promotion to unite the continent.
He set about his vision with ONE to promote the sport of mixed martial arts in a different light to what he had encountered in the West, building his platform to showcase values such as humility, honor, and self-improvement.
CEO International Victor Cui has stated that the purpose is to "build Asian heroes" in a sport that was not imported, like many of the other top-grossing sports properties.
The first show, ONE Fighting Championship: Champion vs. Champion, took place at the 12,000 capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium on 3 September 2011. The headline fight was initially scheduled to be Ole Laursen vs Eduard Folayang but Laursen suffered an injury in training and was replaced by A Sol Kwon.
The card also featured a matchup between UFC veterans Phil Baroni and Yoshiyuki Yoshida as well as Gregor Gracie, Leandro Issa, Zorobabel Moreira and Vuyisile Colossa. Folayang suffered a broken nose but beat Kwon by unanimous decision in the main event and was awarded a $5,000 USD 'Performance of the Night' bonus.
ONE FC's first event of 2012 was ONE Fighting Championship: Battle of Heroes and it took place at the BritAma Arena on 11 February with Felipe Enomoto submitting Ole Laursen in the main event. During the course of the year the promotion moved into two more new countries with ONE Fighting Championship: Destiny of Warriors at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur on 23 June, ONE Fighting Championship: Pride of a Nation at Araneta Coliseum in Manila on 31 August as well as a second card in Singapore, ONE Fighting Championship: Rise of Kings on 6 October.
Ten-year ESPN Star Sports partnership
On 30 January 2012 ONE FC held a press conference in Singapore to announce a ten-year media partnership with ESPN Star Sports which was described as the largest MMA media deal in Asian history. ONE FC events have since been broadcast, either live or on a delayed broadcast, on the ESPN and Star Sports channels. After ESPN Asia was rebranded as Fox Sports Asia in 2014 ONE FC events would be shown across Asia on the Fox Sports channels.
First female fight
Signing Shinya Aoki and Bibiano Fernandes
On 28 June 2012 it was announced that ONE FC had signed reigning Dream (mixed martial arts) champions Shinya Aoki and Bibiano Fernandes for long term deals with the organization  with the latter rejecting a rival offer from the UFC.
ONE FC Network
On 26 October 2011 CEO Victor Cui announced the formation of the ONE FC network, an alliance of camps and promotions in the Asia and Oceania continents which includes DREAM, GLORY, URCC, Cage Fighting Championship, BRACE, ROAD Fighting Championship, Team Lakay Wushu, Tiger Muay Thai and MMA, Evolve Mixed Martial Arts, PAK MMA (Pakistan) and Fairtex Gym. Contracted fighters are allowed to compete for any promotion in the network which notably enabled GLORY Sports International presents Dream 18 & Glory 4 Tokyo ~ Special 2012 ~ New Year's Eve, to feature ONE fighters Shinya Aoki, Bibiano Fernandes and Melvin Manhoef.
Appointment of Matt Hume
On 2 August 2012 ONE FC announced that Matt Hume, who was the rule director and official trainer to both PRIDE Fighting Championships and Dream (mixed martial arts), had been appointed as the Vice President of Operations and Competition. He had previously served as the head official for ONE FC.
Introduction of ONE FC titles
On 6 October 2012 at ONE Fighting Championship: Rise of Kings ONE FC titles were introduced for the first time. Kotetsu Boku became the organization's first ever lightweight champion after beating Zorobabel Moreira while Soo Chul Kim beat Leandro Issa to win the bantamweight belt. On 2 February 2013 Honorio Banario defeated Eric Kelly at ONE Fighting Championship: Return of Warriors to become the organization's inaugural featherweight champion.
On 14 March 2014 at ONE Fighting Championship: War of Nations Nobutatsu Suzuki beat Brock Larson to become the first ever ONE Championship welterweight champion. On 12 September Adriano Moraes beat Geje Eustaquio to become ONE FC's first ever flyweight champion and on 7 November Igor Svirid won the inaugural middleweight title after beating Leandro Ataides at ONE Fighting Championship: Battle of the Lions.
On 22 May 2015 Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke won the newly introduced strawweight title by beating Roy Doliguez at ONE Fighting Championship: Warrior's Quest and on December 11 Brandon Vera beat Paul Cheng at ONE Fighting Championship: Spirit of Champions to become the heavyweight champion.
On 16 May 2016 at ONE Fighting Championship: Ascent to Power the promotion crowned its first ever female champion with Angela Lee beating Mei Yamaguchi to win the women's strawweight belt. On the same night Roger Gracie beat Michal Pasternak to become the first ever cruiserweight champion.
Signing Ben Askren
On 9 December 2012 ONE FC announced the signing of undefeated Bellator welterweight champion, two time NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Champion and US Olympian Ben Askren. Askren had been widely expected to sign with the UFC but after a public falling out with Dana White he rejected an offer from the WSOF to sign a six-fight deal with ONE FC.
Appointment of Rich Franklin
Further international expansion
After returning to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta and Manila in 2013 ONE FC put on shows in several new territories in 2014. On 11 July ONE Fighting Championship: War of Dragons took place at the Taipei Arena in Taipei, on 29 August ONE Fighting Championship: Reign of Champions took place at the Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai and on 12 September ONE Fighting Championship: Rise of the Kingdom took place at the Koh Pich Theatre in Phnom Penh.
2015 saw ONE FC head to Myanmar for the first time with ONE Fighting Championship: Kingdom of Warriors taking place at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon on 18 July and in 2016 the promotion put on its first ever show in Thailand with ONE Fighting Championship: Kingdom of Champions taking place at the Impact Arena in Bangkok on 27 May.
In 2019 ONE are planning their first events in new territories, including Japan and South Korea.
Ownership and finances
On 4 August 2014, according to Victor Cui, eight division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao had purchased an undisclosed number of shares in the company. Pacquiao's name wasn't among the listed owners in October 2018.
On 13 July 2016, ONE Championship received a significant investment from Heliconia Capital Management, a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund (DBS Bank, Singapore Airlines, CapitaLand, ST Engineering, Singtel, MediaCorp, PSA Corporation, Aetos Security Management, Certis CISCO, SMRT Corporation, etc.).
In October 2018 ONE Championship announced that it had recently closed a $166 million Series D financing round. According to Crunchbase, the company had a pre-money evaluation of $800 million prior to the investment, potentially bringing the total valuation to $966 million.
Days after the series D financing round announcement it was reported, that based on financial statements filed with ACRA, Group One Holdings PTE LTD (ONE Championship) had been operating at a financial loss for at least the 3 previous years. Over the 2015-2017 period increased losses and annual revenue growth of almost 30% were also reported. Total accumulated losses were reported as having been 92.5 million Singapore dollars, or the equivalent of 67 million US dollars.
CEO Chatri Sityodtong states that the long-term goal is to capitalize on broadcast and digital media deals with ONE as the organization's reach and footprint grows in both areas, and make the most of a "media rights war".
“Whichever company is able to integrate content, community, and commerce into a single platform seamlessly will win the war."
Rich Franklin's ONE Warrior Series
In November 2017, it was announced that ONE VP Rich Franklin would head up a new reality series called ONE Warrior Series, that would see him travel Asia in search of the region's up and coming martial artists. The prize is a six-figure contract with the organization, based on performance, not victory.
At the inaugural ONE Warrior Series Season Finale in Singapore on 31 March 2018, Rockie Bactol, Daesong Park and Woonkyum Kim earned contracts.
Partnership with Global Citizen
At the start of 2018, ONE teamed up with nonprofit organization Global Citizen, whose aim is to eliminate global poverty by 2030. Many ONE athletes have been involved in initiatives with them, including Eduard Folayang, Brandon Vera, Angela Lee, Aung La N Sang, Shannon Wiratchai, and Rika Ishige.
ONE Super Series
On 12 February 2018, ONE Championship announced the establishment of ONE Super Series. The first event that featured bouts under Muay Thai and kickboxing rules was ONE: Heroes of Honor in Manila on April 20, 2018. The promotion signed notable names such as Giorgio Petrosyan, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao and Fabio Pinca to feature on the bill.
The promotion crowned their first ONE Super Series Muay Thai World Champion when Sam-A Gaiyanghadao defeated Sergio Wielzen with a fourth round stoppage in their flyweight bout at ONE: Unstoppable Dreams on 18 May 2018.
The first female champion was Kai Ting Chuang, who defeated Yodcherry Sityodtong by unanimous decision to claim the ONE Super Series Kickboxing Atomweight World Title at ONE: Battle for the Heavens.
First boxing bout with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
It was announced in July that WBC Super Flyweight world champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai would make the next defense of his crown under the ONE Championship banner, in his home city of Bangkok, Thailand.
This would be the first foray into the boxing world for ONE, who worked alongside Nakornloung Promotion to put the matchup together with Iran Diaz. It was a significant name for the promotion to add to their ONE: Kingdom of Heroes event on October 6, with Srisaket regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
The Thai was victorious via unanimous decision, with emphatic scores of 120-108, 119-109, 119-109.
Attracting North American talent
In October 2018, ONE signed record-breaking UFC champion Demetrious Johnson to their flyweight division, and former UFC and Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez to the lightweight division. In December, Sage Northcutt followed suit, with a view to making his promotional debut in February.
Recognition by Association of Ringside Physicians
ONE has focused on implementing stringent protocols for the health and safety of the athletes on their roster. At the Association of Ringside Physicians Conference in Las Vegas in 2018, these efforts were recognized by leaders in the industry.
Appointment of Miesha Tate
ONE Championship uses the global MMA rule set.
For mixed martial arts contests, non-championship bouts are three rounds of five minutes, with one minute breaks in between rounds. Championship bouts are five rounds of five minutes, with one minute breaks in between rounds.
ONE Super Series (kickboxing and Muay Thai) non-championship bouts are three rounds of three minutes, with one minute breaks in between rounds. Championship bouts are five rounds of three minutes, with one minute breaks in between rounds.
In the event that a bout goes the distance, it will go to a judges’ decision. The three judges will score the bout in its entirety, not round-by-round. Judges will utilize the following ONE judging criteria in descending order of importance to determine the winner of the bout:
- Near KO or Submission
- Damage (Internal, Accumulated, Superficial)
- Striking combinations and cage generalship (Ground control, Superior positioning)
- Earned takedowns or takedown defense
ONE Championship primarily uses a circular cage, with every event up until April 2018 utilizing this fighting platform. Since the inception of ONE Super Series, some events have used a five-roped ring. The first time it was introduced was at ONE: Heroes of Honor on April 20, 2018, and it has featured several times since. Most notably, ONE used the ring when WBC Super Flyweight world champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai defended his title against Iran Diaz in the promotion's first foray into boxing on October 6, 2018.
ONE Championship currently uses ten different weight classes:
|Weight class name||Upper limit||Gender|
|in pounds (lb)||in kilograms (kg)||in stone (st)|
|Strawweight||125||56.7||8.9||Male / Female|
|Flyweight||135||61.2||9.6||Male / Female|
|Bantamweight||145||65.8||10.4||Male / Female|
Note that unlike most MMA organizations, these weight limits are based on a competitor's "walking weight", rather than pre-fight weigh-ins.
The change took place after the tragic death of 21-year-old Chinese fighter, Yang Jian Bing (who was supposed to face Geje Eustaquio) on December 11, 2015, due to dehydration by weight-cutting in the Philippines.
The promotion banned weight-cutting by dehydration in order to promote fighter safety. Athletes are monitored in their training camps, and have urine specific gravity tests to ensure they are hydrated and healthy right up to three hours ahead of their bouts. Since the new measures took effect, there have been no further incidents.
Fighters such as former ONE champion Ben Askren have endorsed the change, believing it is the best solution for long-term athlete health, and other industry insiders are also keen to see it rolled out worldwide.
Rapid weight cutting by dehydration can cause decreased kidney function, heat illness, and even strokes, and in promotions where it is allowed, as many as 39% of fighters enter their contests dehydrated, compounding potential health risks.
ONE Championship is broadcast by domestic television channels in Asia including MNC International (2011-2013, returns in 2015-2017), SCTV (2018-now) and Indosiar (2013-2014) in Indonesia, MediaCorp Channel 5 in Singapore, ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ATC @ IBC 13 and GMA 7 in the Philippines, MyTV in Cambodia, Astro Arena, TV9 and RTM (2018-now) in Malaysia. and Thairath TV in Thailand
On 30 January 2012 it was announced that ONE Championship has signed a deal which would see it being broadcast by ESPN Star Sports for the next 10 years, the longest deal of its kind in the history of Asian MMA. ONE made its PPV debut at ONE Fighting Championship: Rise of Kings via iN DEMAND, Avail-TVN, DirecTV and Dish. ONE events air live on Fox Sports from August 2014 and continue to air on Star Sports in China and South Korea.
It also airs live on Setanta in Australia, Premier Sports, and Box Nation in the UK, Physique TV in the Middle East and Africa. Other TV channels around the world showing live ONE events include Fight Channel in Croatia, Fight Time in Russia, Fox Sports Africa, Setanta Ireland and KombatSports.lu in France.
From May 2018, events have been viewable on their ONE Super App, which offers every event live and free around the world.
Viewership for ONE events has been consistently growing since their inception. In 2015, average viewership was under one million per live event, rising to 11 million by 2018.
The promotion announced 25 million viewership across their television and online broadcast partners for ONE: Kingdom of Heroes in Bangkok, which included Twitter and Facebook live streams. The event was headlined by a WBC Super Flyweight World Title bout between Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Mexico's Iran Diaz, ONE claimed the bout had a 58.5% TV ratings share in Thailand at its peak.
In 2016, ONE won the 'Promotion of the Year' award at the Asian MMA Awards.
In 2016, ONE won the 'Best Live Sports' category in the 21st annual Asian Television Awards (ATA).
In 2017, ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong won the InfluentialBrands Top CEO Award at the 2017 CEO Asia Conference.
ONE Championship events
Entrepreneur Chatri Sityodtong is the CEO and Chairman of ONE Championship. ONE CEO of International is Victor Cui who used to be a senior executive at ESPN Star Sports. Matches are made by matchmaker and Vice President of Operations, Matt Hume. In 2014, ONE Championship announced that Rich Franklin had also taken on a role as Vice President in ONE Championship. The head referee is Yuji Shimada and referees are Olivier Coste, Kemp Cheng, and Atsushi Onari. The regular colour commentators for the television broadcast are Michael Schiavello and Mitch Chilson, although Josh Thomson, Jason Chambers, Bas Rutten and Renzo Gracie have appeared as guest commentators. Dominic Lau is the cage announcer. Nam En Ju, Siena, Lee Ji Na, Kim Ji Na, Chun Se Ra, Eun Ji Ye and Choi Ye Rok are ring girls.
Fighter salaries in Asia are not publicly disclosed, unlike in the US, so information about ONE FC's fighter purses is not in the public domain. However, in January, 2014 Ben Askren revealed that he was being paid a minimum of $50,000 USD per fight as well as a $50,000 USD win bonus.
A cash bonus known as the "ONE Warrior bonus" was introduced on 9 July 2014 and implemented for the first time at ONE Fighting Championship: War of Dragons on 11 July 2014. An award of $50,000 USD is given out at the end of certain events to the fighter who impresses the most in terms of:
- thrilling the fans with exciting action,
- demonstrating an incredible warrior spirit,
- exhibiting amazing skill, and
- delivering a phenomenal finish.
Victor Cui stated that bonuses would be handed out on a discretionary basis: "If a few fighters impress me, then I will hand out the bonus to a few fighters. If no one impresses me, then no one will get it which since ONE show has never been handed out ever again cause none of the fighters impress me. Extraordinary performance deserves extraordinary rewards. Ordinary performances deserve ordinary rewards."
|Division||Upper weight limit||Champion||Since||Title defenses||Next fight/defense|
|Heavyweight||285 lb (129.3 kg; 20.4 st)||Brandon Vera||11 December 2015 (ONE: Spirit of Champions)||2|
|Cruiserweight||225 lb (102.1 kg; 16.1 st)||Aung La Nsang||23 February 2018 (ONE: Quest for Gold)||0|
|Middleweight||205 lb (93.0 kg; 14.6 st)||Aung La Nsang||30 June 2017 (ONE: Light of a Nation)||2|
|Welterweight||185 lb (83.9 kg; 13.2 st)||Zebaztian Kadestam||17 November 2018 (ONE: Warrior's Dream)||0|
|Lightweight||170 lb (77.1 kg; 12.1 st)||Eduard Folayang||23 November 2018 (ONE: Conquest of Champions)||0|
|Featherweight||155 lb (70.3 kg; 11.1 st)||Martin Nguyen||18 August 2017 (ONE: Quest for Greatness)||1|
|Bantamweight||145 lb (65.8 kg; 10.4 st)||Kevin Belingon||9 November 2018 (ONE: Heart of the Lion)||0|
|Flyweight||135 lb (61.2 kg; 9.6 st)||Geje Eustaquio||23 June 2018 (ONE: Pinnacle of Power)||0|
|Strawweight||125 lb (56.7 kg; 8.9 st)||Joshua Pacio||22 September 2018 (ONE: Conquest of Heroes)||0|
|Division||Upper weight limit||Champion||Since||Title defenses||Next fight/defense|
|Strawweight||125 lb (56.7 kg; 8.9 st)||Jing Nan Xiong||20 January 2018 (ONE: Kings of Courage)||2|
|Atomweight||115 lb (52.2 kg; 8.2 st)||Angela Lee||6 May 2016 (ONE: Ascent to Power)||3|
ONE Grand Prix Champions
|Bantamweight||Masakatsu Ueda||May 31, 2013 (ONE FC: Rise to Power)|
Malaysia GP Champions
|Featherweight||A.J. Lias Mansor||15 November 2013 (ONE FC: Warrior Spirit)|
Cambodia GP Champions
|Featherweight||Samang Dun||12 September 2014 (ONE FC: Rise of the Kingdom)|
China GP Champions
|Featherweight (Beijing)||Li Kai Wen||19 December 2014 (ONE FC: Dynasty of Champions (Beijing))|
|Flyweight (Beijing)||Wei Bin Li||19 December 2014 (ONE FC: Dynasty of Champions (Beijing))|
|Featherweight (Guangzhou)||Huang Di Yuan||20 June 2015 (ONE: Dynasty of Champions (Guangzhou))|
|Flyweight (Guangzhou)||Wu Ze||20 June 2015 (ONE: Dynasty of Champions (Guangzhou))|
|Featherweight (Beijing)||Yang Sen||21 November 2015 (ONE FC: Dynasty of Champions (Beijing II))|
|Bantamweight (Changsha)||Ma Hao Bin||January 23, 2016 (ONE: Dynasty of Champions (Changsha))|
|Flyweight (Hefei)||Huo You Xia Bu||July 2, 2016 (ONE: Dynasty of Champions (Anhui))|
Myanmar GP Champions
|Featherweight||Tha Pyay Nyo||18 July 2015 (ONE: Kingdom of Warriors)|
|Lightweight||Thway Thit Aung||18 July 2015 (ONE: Kingdom of Warriors)|
|Featherweight||Phoe Thaw||7 October 2016 (ONE: State of Warriors)|
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