One FC fighters assembled at Thursday’s presser in Singapore. | Photo: One Fighting Championship
Another new promotion with major ambitions has emerged on the suddenly bustling Asia-Pacific MMA scene.
Boasting a roster of nearly two dozen decorated martial artists and a pan-Asian television reach of half a billion homes, One Fighting Championship formally announced its presence Thursday at a press conference in Singapore.
The company won’t hold its first show until Sept. 3, when “Champion vs. Champion” takes place at the 12,000-seat Singapore Indoor Stadium, but an official release nonetheless declared One FC to be “the largest MMA organization in Asian history.” And while that mantle may remain with the departed Pride Fighting Championships for now, One FC’s plans are lofty indeed: a series of “world-class, live events in all major cities in Asia,” with a separate “national qualifier series” and reality TV program, all set to be broadcast throughout the region on ESPN Star Sports and the free-to-air MediaCorp Channel 5.
“By our first event on Sept. 3, we will be in more than 500 million homes across Asia, and it is only the beginning,” stated Victor Cui, One FC owner and CEO. “Asia has been the birthplace and home to martial arts for the last 5,000 years and One Fighting Championship has a vision of bringing mixed martial arts to the 3.9 billion people living in Asia.”
Cui is the former promoter of Martial Combat, which aired 12 events on ESPN Star between May and October 2010. His new venture is reportedly funded by Middle Eastern investors, though no backers were cited in Thursday’s release.
Matchups for “Champion vs. Champion” are expected to be revealed next week. In the meantime, the promotion has issued a list of 23 international fighters who will take part in One FC events throughout Asia.
Fighters in One FC’s starting lineup include:
• Rolles Gracie (4-1), Igor Gracie (4-2) and Gregor Gracie (5-1), brothers from the famed Brazilian jiu-jitsu clan
• Eduard Folayang (9-1), Kevin Belingon (9-0) and Eric Kelly (5-0), respective welterweight, flyweight and featherweight champions of the Philippines’ URCC promotion
• Ole Laursen (5-2), Danish kickboxer and K-1 Hero’s veteran
• Yodsanan Sityodtong, former WBA world super featherweight titleholder with a professional boxing record of 58-3-1
• Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn and Anuwat Kaewsamrit, multi-division Lumpinee Stadium muay Thai champions
• Leandro Thomas Issa (8-2) and Zorobabel Moreira Jr. (4-1), Singapore-based Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champions
• Soo Chul Kim (3-0), a 19-year-old South Korean prospect who captured the Rising On featherweight title in his professional debut last August
According to an official statement, One FC “remains in confidential discussions with many of the top Asian fighters in Asia” and will announce further roster additions shortly.