ONE Championship Amassing Record-Breaking TV Figures

ONE Championship is growing rapidly and recently passed several landmarks, as outlined by its chairman and founder Chatri Sityodtong. The organization’s most recent event in the Philippines broke all existing records for viewership of an MMA show and it is a pattern which is being repeated all over the region.

According to ABS CBN, the ONE Championship card at the MOA Arena in Manila last month was watched by more people than any MMA event in the country’s history. Sityodtong says a strategy of prioritizing domestic TV deals over the Pay-Per-View market is starting to pay dividends.

“We get about 10 million to 30 million people tuning in for every show and those numbers are growing exponentially. ONE Championship is on free to air TV across Asia and free to air TV has the biggest footprint and reach by far in Asia. Believe it or not, most Asians still watch old school TV. Paid TV still has very low penetration in Asia.”

The ONE: Kings of Destiny event in Manila was headlined by the recently crowned lightweight champion Eduard Folayang. ONE Championship shareholder Manny Pacquiao had a front row seat, as the Filipino successfully defended his belt with a hard-fought decision win over Ev Ting.

It was the ninth event ONE Championship has held in Manila and was shown on the free-to-air S+A channel. Even Sityodtong was surprised by how successful the broadcast was.

“The numbers for that show were massive. We broke all records. Our peak ratings share was 26 percent, as per Nielsen. To put that into perspective, UFC 205, which was the UFC’s biggest show last year, only captured a 6 to 7 percent ratings share in the Philippines.”

While ONE Championship’s decade long deal with Fox Sports was well publicized, the promotion has also been quietly securing domestic TV deals all over Asia and beyond. Bars across the region frequently have the fights playing in the background and Sityodtong says thousands of hours of footage are being broadcast.

“Without a doubt, ONE Championship is now Asia’s largest sports media property in history. There are no pan-Asian sports media properties, except for ONE Championship. ONE Championship is now broadcast anywhere from 100 hours to 1,800 hours per year per key country in Asia. No other sports media property comes close to those hours or to our TV ratings.”

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ONE Championship was founded in 2011 and held its inaugural event in Singapore. Since then, the promotion has put on 54 events in 11 different Asian countries with a further 14 cards scheduled between now and the end of the year. 

The acquisition of free agents like Ben Askren and Bibiano Fernandes has made headlines in the MMA media, but Sityodtong says the company’s growth can be measured in many other ways.

“ONE Championship is growing exponentially across all metrics,” he stated. “For example, our social media video views have grown from 312,000 for 2014 to a run rate of 314 million in Q1 2017.  We will likely do 500 million video views for the full year in 2017 due to an acceleration in growth rates sequentially. We are seeing all metrics across the board exhibit multiple-fold increases as per Nielsen, Facebook, and Repucom.”  

Sityodtong has never been content to simply sit back and promote fights. He’s always had a more ambitious vision for ONE Championship and believes it is close to becoming a reality.

“I started ONE Championship with the vision of creating Asia’s first multibillion dollar sports media property.  There is no question that ONE Championship is on track to achieve that goal. If you look around the world, there is no sports media property with our trajectory of growth across key metrics like ratings, broadcast hours, social media engagement, broadcast footprint, broadcast reach, etc.” 

Next up is ONE: Dynasty of Heroes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. It will be the organization’s twelfth card in this venue and the headline match pits Angela Lee against Istela Nunes. The former has emerged as a real fan favorite since capturing the atomweight title and Sityodtong would love to see her matched with the UFC’s current strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who fights at UFC 211 on Saturday.

Angela Lee - Warrior Kingdom“Angela Lee is definitely our biggest star, and she earned her spot. She is one of the best world champions on the planet, pound for pound. I would love to see her fight Joanna.”  

Askren will also be making a title defense on that card, but has been relegated to co-main event status. It is a reflection of Lee’s box office appeal and Sityodtong thinks Asian fight fans can relate to the atomweight champion better because she is of mixed Singaporean/Korean descent.

“Asia has long been starving for heroes. Throughout history, Asia had only non Asian choices in terms of sports media properties. Asians watched only EPL, NBA, or F1. Human beings are tribal. We all want to root for people who share our values, our backgrounds, our culture, our history, and our looks, and today Asians can rally behind ONE Championship.”

The MMA media puts a lot of focus on the U.S. industry, so the significance of ONE Championship’s rise is probably lost on some. After all, viewing figures in countries like the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, and Malaysia are unlikely to be of huge interest to your average, English language speaking fight fan in the West.

But there is a growing global appetite for MMA that goes beyond traditional strongholds for the sport, such as the U.S., Canada, and Brazil. ONE Championship has effectively cornered that market in Asia and Sityodtong says his organization is starting to reap the rewards.

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“Every major country is showing several hours of our content per week. These metrics make ONE Championship the largest sports media property in Asia by a large margin in terms of audience scale, reach, and engagement.”

It’s a lot of data to digest, but ONE Championship is clearly on an upward trajectory and Sityodtong sees an exciting future for the promotion he founded just six years ago.

“We are 10 to 50 times larger than the UFC is in many countries here. And the crazy thing is that we are only at the beginning. There are 4 billion people in Asia. The potential is massive.”

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Knockout Radio LIVE: Melvin Guillard, Antonio Tarver, and a Huge Week of News!

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Tune in Wednesday at 3:30 pm ET, for Knockout Radio LIVE! as Randy and crew talk with Melvin Guillard and Antonio Tarver, and discuss a blockbuster week of Hot MMA News!

As always, Knockout Radio has the best giveaways, prizes, surprises, and celebrity guests!

TRENDING > Anderson Silva Blasts ‘The Almighty’ Dana White

The phone lines will be open from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. EST on our call-in number:  813-321-0987.

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UFC 211’s Stacked Card of Fighters Face Off

The UFC is gearing up for what has emerged as its most stacked fight card of the year to date.

Several of the UFC 211: Miocic vs. dos Santos standout fighters were in attendance on Wednesday in Dallas, offering the media an opportunity to get in some final questions before they head to the Octagon on Saturday.

At the conclusion of UFC 211 Ultimate Media Day, the fighters faced off with their opponents, and MMAWeekly.com was on the scene to capture all the tension as Stipe Miocic and Junior dos Santos squared off, as did Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade, and several other fighters.

TRENDING > Anderson Silva Blasts ‘The Almighty’ Dana White

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Joanna Jedrzejczyk on Jessica Andrade and Aiming for UFC Flyweight Title

Joanna Jedrzejczyk is about to put her strawweight belt on the line for the fifth time. She squares off with Jessica Andrade at UFC 211 on Saturday in Dallas.

At the UFC 211 Ultimate Media Day, Jedrzejczyk discussed the upcoming fight with Andrade and how she has her sights set on becoming the UFC’s first female dual-division champion.

TRENDING > UFC 211’s Stacked Card of Fighters Face Off

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Jared Gordon: From Lookin’ For a Fight to UFC Debut (UFC 211 Video)

(Courtesy of UFC)

Dana White: Lookin’ For a Fight prospect Jared Gordon makes his UFC debut on Saturday, May 13 on the UFC 211: Miocic vs. dos Santos 2 preliminary fight card.

TRENDING > Dana White Admits to Why He Lost the Mayweather vs. McGregor Date

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Anderson Silva Blasts ‘The Almighty’ Dana White

Anderson Silva recently spoke out about his treatment by the UFC. In particular, he referenced UFC president Dana White. 

Believing the 185-pound division has been held up by a fight between champion Michal Bisping and returning welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre, Silva made a demand that the UFC put an interim middleweight title on the line in a fight between himself and No. 1 contender Yoel Romero. He even threatened to quit fighting if it didn’t happen.

White declined to put the fight together.

Silva has yet to follow through on his declaration that he’d quit fighting, but he did respond to “The Almighty” White’s decision to, as he says, continue holding up the division.

In a recent Instagram live video interview, Silva, per a transcription by MMAJunkie.com, blasted White for the way he and the promotion are treating the middleweight fighters.

Anderson Silva“From the moment I feel like it’s unfair to me, I don’t have to accept it. And I won’t accept it. Got it? And, to make matters even worse, he – ‘The Almighty’ – does the following: He brings in a guy who came out of retirement, who’s not from the division and gets him to fight for the belt. But how does he take a guy who’s coming out of retirement, who’s not in the division – he’s going to have an excuse for that, OK? I’m warning you – to fight for the belt with a guy who won a fight on the scorecards and lost another one via knockout? With a guy who, allegedly, in his last interview, says he’s ready to fight and didn’t get him to fight with the No. 1 ranked guy, who’s Yoel Romero. The whole thing is bull(expletive). And I can’t keep quiet,” Silva said.

“All of the athletes in the division should speak up. There’s a lockout against the division’s athletes. It’s not that I’m pissy, because I won’t fight for the belt. I had the belt for 10 years. Nothing in this sport is new to me. But, for my business, there’s no reason for me to take a fight with Romero that isn’t for the interim belt. There’s no reason. I’m not an idiot; I’m not stupid. I want people to understand that, that they stop talking crap, because they don’t understand what happens behind the scenes in this sport. Unfortunately, all of athletes in the division are suffering due to this lockout,” he continued.

“I’m 42. Everything has happened to me in this sport. I’ve lost, I’ve failed a doping test, I’ve won, (I was) champion for years. I just want to fight and be happy. But, in order for me to fight with Romero – who’s a tough guy, everyone runs from him. They’re trying to protect Bisping from fighting him. Nothing more fair than me, the man, who allegedly ‘The Almighty’ – I wasn’t the one who said that, it was ‘The Almighty’ – a few years ago said he had the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Anderson Silva.

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“But he, ‘The Almighty,’ has to explain himself to everyone. Now it’s explained. I don’t want people to keep asking me about this. I won’t fight because of this (expletive), which doesn’t happen only to me, but with all fighters in the division – period. ‘The Almighty’ owns the toy. Whoever wants to accept it, accepts it, and those who don’t want to, don’t. I won’t accept it. If I accept this circus, I have five kids, and I can’t go home and say, ‘I backed down.’ I’m a man, and I’ll go all the way. When you’re right, you have to go all the way. I’m sorry if this costs my leaving the UFC, retiring, being sidelined. (If) they want to mess with me, I don’t care. But what I’m doing is the right thing. It’s the right thing for me. It’s my manhood, and no one is changing that,” Silva explained.

“I’m outraged, but I’m happy I’m ending a camp that wasn’t money thrown away. With people I’m always learning with, a lot of cool people. I’m happy, coming home happy. In a way, happier than if I had fought. We managed to make ‘The Almighty’ alert. He’s going to have to put Romero to fight; there are no excuses. He’s the No. 1 ranked, and Bisping said he’s ready to fight. There are no excuses. In a way, I helped a co-worker. This is what we’re supposed to do, not call Dana White names or clash. But Dana shot himself in the foot. I have no problem with him. The problem is when it affects the fighters, who spend months away from home, who make the show happen. It’s not (White). He only sits there, makes fights and watches them. This is (expletive). It has to end.

“I love this, it’s my passion, but I can’t accept this type of (expletive). The UFC is not a sport. It’s an entity. MMA is the sport. The UFC is a brand that broadcasts and makes the MMA fights. One for all, all for one, and victory in war.”

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Joseph Benavidez Injured, Out of Next Scheduled Fight

It appears that Joseph Benavidez is out of his fight with Ben Nguyen.

Benavidez and Nguyen were slated to meet at UFC Fight Night 110: Lewis vs. Hunt on June 10 (June 11 local time) in Auckland, New Zealand.

Joseph Benavidez TUF 24 Finale Post-Fight Press ConferenceBenavidez, a mainstay at the No. 1 ranked position in the UFC flyweight division, has been trying to stack up enough wins to get another crack at seemingly unbeatable titleholder Demetrious Johnson, while Nguyen is one of the fast-rising talents in the 125-pound division.

The fight will have to wait, however, as Benavidez on Wednesday posted on social media that he had suffered an undisclosed injury that has forced him out of the bout.

TRENDING > Anderson Silva Blasts ‘The Almighty’ Dana White

“Sad to share that I suffered an injury, will not be fighting June 10th,” he wrote. “I’ll focus on what I can do and be back. Thank you for the support.”

UFC officials had yet to address the injury, as of the time of publication, and have not stated whether or not they will find Nguyen a new opponent.

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Jorge Masvidal Rips Michael Bisping for Fighting St-Pierre Instead of Romero

UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping has received a lot of flack from other fighters since agreeing to fight returning former welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre. Most of those fighters have been his peers in the 185-pound weight class, but now you can count welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal among his critics.

Masvidal, during Wednesday’s UFC 211 Ultimate Media Day, went off on Bisping for refusing to fight his teammate, No. 1 contender Yoel Romero.

“That dude’s just a (expletive),” Masvidal told FOX Sports about Bisping. “He’s upset about a couple things. He doesn’t like Cubans. My boy Hector Lombard had a run in with him back in the day, he kind of molested him in the elevator and that stuck with him. He always talks (expletive) about Yoel, not wanting to fight him. Then I said something about Yoel should be the one, I don’t even remember what I said, I was just rooting for my boy, my teammate, when Georges had the next fight.

“Then they asked me to be on his podcast and I said no. I’m not going to make his podcast famous and he’s been all butt hurt about it going on rants about me. That dude’s a (expletive).”

While Bisping has explained his decision as going where the money fight is, Masvidal apparently isn’t buying, instead implying that there might be some sort of underlying bias involved.

TRENDING > Georges St-Pierre Refuses to Fight Before Fall 2017

“Dana White and the White Fighting Championships and white boys only fighting white boys is weird to me,” Masvidal continued. “Why aren’t you fighting Yoel, man? Is it because he’s Cuban or because he’s black? What is it that he can’t get that shot?

“Because he’s 7-0. Beating the best guys in the world, impressively, knocked them out. Why can’t he get the title shot? Then he’s saying he doesn’t want to fight Yoel, he wants to fight (Robert) Whittaker. To me that’s just a (expletive).”

(Video courtesy of FOX Sports | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

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Demetrious Johnson Gets Belts… and His Floyd Mayweather Moment

In the lead-up to his most recent fight, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson complained that he wanted all of his earned UFC belts.

Yes, Johnson had the belt around his waist, but having seen other champions, such as Daniel Cormier, with multiple belts, he wanted his. 

With his victory over Wilson Reis, Johnson tied Anderson Silva‘s record for most consecutive UFC title defenses with 10. So he wanted to have 10 belts. 

TRENDING > Jorge Masvidal Rips Michael Bisping for Fighting St-Pierre Instead of Romero

Part of his motivation was a desire to duplicate Floyd Mayweather Jr.‘s infamous photo with a plethora of belts arranged before him, covering a pool table. 

It seems UFC president Dana White heard Johnson loud and clear. Johnson on Wednesday posted a photo of himself with 10 UFC belts arranged around him, draped over his shoulders, and wrapped around his waist. 

Check it out!

 

GOLD!!

A post shared by Demetrious Johnson (@mightymouse125) on May 10, 2017 at 10:09am PDT

 

It took 19 years but they’ll talk about it forever. #tbe #tmt www.themoneyteam.com

A post shared by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on Oct 21, 2015 at 10:30am PDT

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Injury Forces Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis UFC 211 Cancellation

The UFC’s first stacked fight card of the year, UFC 211: Miocic vs. dos Santos 2, lost a highly anticipated flyweight fight on Wednesday. 

The 125-pound bout between Sergio Pettis and Henry Cejudo has been canceled, according to an initial report by MMA Fighting. Cejudo suffered a last-minute hand injury that will keep him from competing. UFC officials confirmed the injury and the cancellation. 

“Due to the close proximity of the bout, a replacement opponent will not be sought for Pettis, and the UFC 211 card will proceed with 13 bouts,” according to UFC officials.

Henry Cejudo vs Sergio PettisCejudo (10-2) was coming off of back-to-back losses to Joseph Benavidez and Demitrious Johnson, so he was unlikely to get a title shot out of the deal if he were to win, despite his No. 2 flyweight ranking.

Pettis (15-2), on the other hand, is currently on a three-fight winning streak. A victory over Cejudo, who has challenged for the belt once, would have gone a long way toward propelling Pettis into title contention. He currently sits at No. 6 in the division.

TRENDING > Demetrious Johnson Gets Belts… and His Floyd Mayweather Moment

The fight was expected to open the UFC 211 pay-per-view portion of the fight card, which takes place on Saturday in Dallas. With the bout’s cancellation, a bout between former World Series of Fighting dual-division champion David Branch and Krzysztof Jotko will be elevated from the FX Prelims to the main card. A featherweight bout between Jared Gordon and Michel Quinones will move from the UFC Fight Pass Prelims to take the Branch vs. Jotko slot on FX.

According to MMA Fighting, Pettis will receive his show money if he makes weight on Friday.

 

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