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ONE Championship Expected To Make USA Debut In 2022

ONE Championship is broadening their horizons. 

The Asian mixed martial arts promotion is setting their sights on coming to America in 2022. ONE Vice President Rich Franklin would reveal the company’s venture in a recent interview with MMA Junkie

For ONE Championship, it’s not just the extended traveling they have to worry about. With a different ruleset than most MMA promotions, ONE first has to gain approval from state athletic commissions in the United States. 

The unified rules set in place do not allow knees to the head of grounded opponents. This was a hurdle for ONE, but the state of Colorado cleared it for them, allowing the ONE ruleset. Franklin believes this will spark other commissions to do the same for ONE Championship.

“Colorado has been really important for us actually.” Franklin told MMA Junkie. We’ve been able to basically use that as a building block. We’ve gone to several other athletic commissions at this point in time, and believe it or not, I have approval from several states at this point.”

With Colorado being the first state to approve of ONE Championship’s way of doing things, the promotion is looking to make their first dive in Denver, come next year.

“Everything has been approved. I think Denver is going to be one of the major cities that we’re looking at when we’re coming here next year. Our schedule looks somewhat aggressive. I don’t think I can publicly release how many events or any stuff like that on how many we’re doing next year, but I would look for us to be (there) on the back-half of the year.”

Knees to grounded opponents isn’t the only new thing coming to America in 2022. ONE Championship has a lot more factors that they’re bringing to the table. This will include an big emphasis on the fighters’ health and safety. 

“There are a lot of other things that come with our rulesets. We do fight week CT scans. I feel like we’re probably the only major organization in the world that does that. It’s built into their fight week schedules that they go back to the hospitals during fight week to get CT scans to make sure that something didn’t happen in the approaching weeks of the fight. We also have our hydration protocols, which I’m a huge fan of.”

What do you think of ONE Championship making their way into the US?

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