The final months of 2022 saw ONE chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong end the turbulently awesome year for ONE Championship with a double-header of events in Manila. Predictably, this has Chatri in a dynamic mood and showed a very emboldened approach to how One Championship was one of the most sought-after for the year.
Jarred Brooks snatched the ONE 164 card
The latest event of having Jarred Brooks grabbed the ONE 164 card by swiping the strawweight MMA title from home hero Joshua Pacio in enemy territory, prompting an emotional speech where he stated “this is way better than the UFC”.
This follows the 29-year-old American Jarred “Monkey God” Brooks career as he was released by the Las Vegas-based promotion in 2019 but earned his redemption at the Mall of Asia Arena, and his boss was understandably happy to hear such sentiments.
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“First of all we’re bigger,” Chatri said at a post-event media event about being compared with the UFC, Nielsen came out with the industry report eight or nine months ago, on the TV metrics and social and digital. We are bigger – there’s no question – in terms of viewership and engagement around the world.
“I’d love to see a UFC versus ONE, champion versus champion. I believe we would win our fair share. They would win some too. But I do believe we’re the better organisation.”
“If you look at roster quality, what is an average athlete in ONE? He or she is a world champion in one discipline or more prior to joining, at the highest levels. The pedigree of these guys is just different level.”
“The average athlete who gets signed by UFC is 8-0 in LFA, or 10-0, or did collegiate wrestling for four years and maybe does Muay Thai for three years. Here you’ve got the best of the best of every discipline.”
“You get the Ruotolo brothers, Mikey Musumeci, Buchecha in grappling – truly the pound-for-pound greatest. You get striking at the highest levels – Panpayak, Superlek, Rodtang. Then you get mixed rules fights like Stamp fairies versus Anissa Meksen, the pound-for-pound greatest female striker on the planet.”
“Giorgio Petrosyan or Superbon in kickboxing. Demetrious Johnson in mixed martial arts. Anatoly Malykhin will beat any heavyweight worldwide. National champion of wrestling in Russia, amateur MMA champion, one punch KO power in boxing. Name one other heavyweight that is 12-0 with a 90 percent finish rate.”
“Reinier de Ridder, if he recovers 100 percent and is mentally still there in terms of his confidence, he is the best middleweight on the planet. He would strangle the hell out of Alex Pereira, he would strangle the hell out of Israel Adesanya, first round. These guys don’t have wrestling or grappling.”
Chatri did acknowledge that if there was a co-promoted card between the two organisations that this would be “the biggest martial arts event in history, full stop”.
“East versus West, the whole shebang. But I think we’re both global giants,” he added.
“But lastly ask your athletes who’s happier. Which roster has a great relationship with their boss? I understand them. On one side the other boss has never stepped in the ring or a martial arts school.”
“I understand martial arts at the highest levels, I have empathy and compassion. I love our athletes, and all that comes out. That’s what Jarred is talking about. He’s not the first guy to say ONE Championship treats its athletes so well. So yes, I feel Jarred is right.”
ONE Championship is also recovering from the pandemic
Without a doubt, the pandemic restrictions and lockdowns have taken things a notch down and had the games at very limited venues if at all they were able to execute the event. The year 2022 started out very frustrating for ONE since the promotion was only within Singapore until it was able to head back to Kuala Lumpur by October.
The jampacked venues as ONE was getting back on the road was a sure sign that the fanbase was solid, loyal and steady. Just waiting for ONE Championship to hold its next event with great anticipation.
Online streaming and major broadcast deal
Online streaming and major broadcast deal with Amazon Prime Video in the US and Canada, Globo in Brazil and Latin America, and BeIn Sports in the Middle East really got things going again for ONE Championship.
“The year started off still halfway Covid. Asia hadn’t really come out until September or October, so the first nine months … Japan just began opening, China hasn’t still, Thailand just began, and even the Philippines a few weeks ago.”
“So it hasn’t been a full year in terms of our ability to throw events and put the pedal to the metal. But if you look at what we’ve achieved on the business side of things … you go country by country, we’re with the biggest and most prestigious broadcasters now.”
“It’s very clear what is happening. The world is so big. There’s Apple and there’s Samsung. There’s GM and there’s Toyota. There’s ONE and there’s UFC.”
“It’s been a record year – record viewership numbers, record social media and digital metrics, record revenues, record capital raised,” Chatri said. “We will keep on growing and growing.”
“Since I started the company over 10 years ago, I’ve never taken a 40-day trip where I spent only three days at home. I’m telling you, ONE Championship is on fire. I took a tour around Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America – watch, there’s some big, big news coming out.”
“In the next couple of weeks, we will be announcing our full slate of events for 2023. We may hold back some, but at a minimum, we will announce 60, at the high end about 70 for next year. That will be the record, and by the way that will be the most number of events by any combat organisation, full stop.”
You go, Chatri! Full stop. The upheaval of the past years has not just made ONE Championship stronger but catapulted its popularity and following to its peak. We’ll watch out for the next event with glee. Comment down below, folks and let us know if you share the same perspective. Don’t hesitate to put in your suggestions on what you’d like us to feature on our pages. We love to hear from you, thanks!