ONE Championship has its eyes on bringing its brand of combat sports to the United States. This is not the first time they were looking to step into a market already heavily occupied by some pretty well-established mixed martial arts promotions. They would be looking to go against (or maybe work with), the UFC, Bellator MMA, PFL, and Combate Global.
Group ONE Holdings (ONE) says they are Asia’s largest global sports media platform and they have been around since 2011when they were founded by Chatri Sityodtong. They’re in the combat sports business, they hold kickboxing and MMA events, and are even in the Esports business. They reach more than 150 countries around the world.
They want to expand and make their presence known in the U.S. something Sityodtong has been planning since 2019. They were going to make their move in 2020, with New York City as a target, but the COVID-19 pandemic put the entire world’s plans on hold. This past April, ONE Championships held four events on TNT following AEW Dynamite to give fans a sample of how ONE does kickboxing and MMA. While it seems like they just came and went, Sityodtong told Sportico this week that they plan on holding events in the U.S. this year.
“You will see ONE Championship U.S. events on U.S. soil actually this year,” Sityodtong said and added, “It is the largest market in the world and the most sophisticated sports market. It just makes sense for us to enter the U.S.”
When asked where? Sityodtong said he could not give details on a location as they are not finalized yet. However, he did say it has been narrowed down to three locations. New York could still be on the table since pro-wrestling and boxing are returning to Madison Square Garden as early as August.
Florida and Texas are likely locations given the events that have already been held there, but it looks like ONE will finally make their move to the U.S. in 2021.
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel