One Championship has rolled out a packed calendar year, with several events happening every month. Next up will be the One Hero Series to be held in Beijing, China, on May 27. Here are five things you might not know about Asia’s biggest mixed martial arts promotion.
1. You probably won’t see much trash talk in One ChampionshipFounder, CEO and Chairman Chatri Sityodtong maintains that there is no place for hatred and profanity in One Championship. Instead, they have a culture of respect, integrity and honor. He’s even gone on record multiple times saying they would never sign someone like Conor McGregor because his persona isn’t a good fit to what One Championship is about.
2. They never had qualms about females sharing the cageWhile Dana White was on record saying the UFC will never have female competitors, only to eat his own words later, One Championship has always been receptive of female talent. On March 31, 2012, which was less than a year after their inception, One Championship held their first female fight, pitting Singapore’s Nicole Chua with India’s Jeet Toshi against each other. The fight didn’t last long, but had no shortage of action. In the end, Chua walked away with the victory after submitting Toshi at 2:07 of round one.
3: They aren’t strictly MMAWhen the promotion started to consistently widen their reach and increase their viewership, One Championship began adding grappling, kickboxing, muay Thai and boxing matches to their events. Notable matches include Shinya Aoki vs. Garry Tonon (grappling), Kai Ting Chuang vs. Yodcherry Sityodtong (kickboxing), Sam-A Gaiyanghadao vs. Jonathan Haggerty (Muay Thai) and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs. Iran Diaz (boxing).
4: They used to allow soccer kicksIn its early years, One Championship allowed soccer kicks on a downed opponent, but only after the referee had given the signal to go for it. However, because of the confusion in Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia’s fight at One FC 5: Pride of a Nation which resulted in a no contest, One Championship decided to adopt Pride FC’s rule wherein a fighter can soccer kick a downed opponent even without the referee’s signal.
In 2016, however, One Championship completely banned the move. Other notable instances of a soccer kick were Geje Eustaquio on Saiful Merican, Vincent Latoel on Arnaud Lepont and James McSweeney on Cristiano Kaminishi.
5. Weight-cutting by dehydration isn’t allowedFollowing the death of Yang Jian Bing due to an alleged botched weight cut, One Championship has reportedly banned weight-cutting by dehydration. Fighters are said to now be regularly observed in their training camps to make sure they stay healthy and hydrated up to three hours before their scheduled fight.
Media and industry insiders have widely panned the promotion’s lack of transparency regarding weigh-ins, however, leading many to believe that One’s weight policy is a farce. Until independent observers are given unbridled access, this will be the prevailing thought.