Founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtong explains the vision and global reach of ONE Championship, the “Olympics of karate” and selects the fighters you must see; Watch the first episode of the ONE Championship at Sky Sports Mix images from 1am on Saturday morning
Author John Dennen, sports journalist
16:04, UK, Thursday 11 January 2024
One race will begin Sky Sports this week it’s Britain’s Liam Nolan fighting on the undercard of the Shamil Gasanov vs Oh Ho Taek featherweight MMA clash.
Watch the first event of One Championship Sky Sports Mix images from 1am on Saturday morning.
Known as the world’s largest platform for martial arts, ONE Sports Championship has a variety of disciplines, such as mixed martial arts, kickboxing, Muay Thai and others, with international titles in their various sports.
Saturday morning’s bill is made up of various MMA and Muay Thai kickboxing bouts, with Nolan taking on Ali Aliev in a lightweight Muay Thai fight.
‘The best of the best’
Co-founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtong explained: “The way we think of ourselves, apart from the martial arts house, is the Olympics of karate.
“In the Olympics, you have several routines, several sports and the whole world stops to see the best competition. There is no difference there. We have the best martial arts in the world.
“Every week you see the Olympics of martial arts and what’s interesting as a fan is you get different martial arts, different styles, different stories but you know you’re seeing the best in the world.”
The world’s largest martial arts organization
Well established in Asia, One Race continues to grow globally.
“Nielsen came out with a global industry report a year and a half ago. We were surprised but in terms of viewership and sharing on TV and digital and platforms, we were higher than the UFC in terms of size. The UFC is the world. The biggest MMA organization, they only focus on martial arts mixed martial arts. We are the world’s largest martial arts organization, we have several disciplines,” said Sityodtong.
The UFC is one of the most famous organizations in the world of combat sports. But ONE, its founder insists, is very different.
“The only thing the UFC has in common is that we both have the best roster in the world,” Sityodtong said. “We are all giants in our communities.
“UFC focuses on MMA, we focus on all martial arts, different disciplines. But the best in the world, whether it’s hard or hard or mixed.
“We focus on the ethics of martial arts. I’m a lifelong martial artist as a beginner. I’ve been doing Muay Thai for about 40 years and Brazilian jiujitsu for 14 or so years and I want to represent the true martial arts. From the home of martial arts here at Asia.
“I can fight and have a lot of confidence in nature – but what martial arts teaches you is more about honesty, humility, respect, dignity, courage, discipline, compassion and so much more,” he said.
“That’s why millions of parents around the world and in the UK send their children to martial arts schools. It’s for them to learn these wonderful qualities and discipline and humility and work ethic and all the wonderful things they want to offer and that’s what we’re showing.
“UFC and ONE are arguably the two best teams in the world, I argue that our series is better than the UFC, and most martial arts experts would agree with me. But the real difference comes in culture.
“We are the Olympics of martial arts if you will.”
Who is the viewer?
British fighters are entering the One Championship.
Jonathan Haggerty had an incredible year in 2023, becoming a two-time world champion as he won the Muay Thai and kickboxing bantamweight titles.
He will defend his Muay Thai championship on February 17, live Sky Sports.
“He’s amazing. He’s definitely the best fighter in the UK right now. But more importantly, he’s arguably one of the best pound-for-pound fighters standing in any combat sport in the world today,” said Sityodtong.
“If you go on his Instagram page and see how he fights with a heavy bag or papers, it’s a rare talent.
“He’s beaten big, tough names that nobody thought he could beat and he’s come out on top in two different sports. I think you’re going to see him dominate for a long time.”
Another UK shooter Liam Nolan it will be working Sky Sports‘ The first show of One Championship, is from 1am onwards Sky Sports Mix images Wednesday.
Liam Harrison he is very noble, a warrior. “You have a legend like Liam Harrison who has been around the block and really represents the UK internationally. A white knockout artist, kill or be killed, his style. There are some exciting fighters,” one founder said.
Those that can be seen around the world include Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Demetrius Johnson.
“I think the UK fans will really love Rodtang, he is without a doubt today the greatest puncher in the world. Big KO power, big heart, very exciting style,” said Sityodtong.
“In mixed martial arts we obviously have a goat [greatest of all-time], in Demetrius Johnson. I think UK fans will love GOAT. “
Marketing has fighters who take action. “Our fighters are very good and finish,” Sityodtong said. “Our final level as an organization is running at about 70 percent.
“Our fighters are the best in the world and they come to finish the fight so it’s really exciting.
“These are household names in the world of martial arts. These are the kings, if you will, of martial arts. It doesn’t matter what discipline you’re looking for. You’re lucky.”
What’s coming up
The first show of ONE Championship on Sky Sports takes place in the early hours of Saturday morning, UK time.
Watch the card featuring Gasanov vs Oh, Nolan vs Aliev and more from 1am onwards Sky Sports Mix images.
Jonathan Haggerty will make his own Sky Sports debut when he puts his ONE Muay Thai bantamweight world title on the line against Felipe Lobo. That will be the morning of February 17th.