Group ONE Holdings founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced on the Sporticast podcast that the organization is planning its first U.S.-based event. The company, which runs a Singapore-based martial arts promotion (ONE Championship) and gaming organization (ONE Esports), brands itself as Asia’s largest global sports media platform, broadcasting to more than 150 countries around the world.
“We’re the newest kid on the block in terms of the United States,” Sityodtong said in an interview. “But you will see ONE Champ U.S. events on U.S. soil actually this year. It is the largest market in the world and the most sophisticated sports market. It just makes sense for us to enter the U.S.”
Sityodtong didn’t reveal where the event would take place because the organization is still deciding between three locations.
The closest ONE Championship has come to touching the U.S. market was in March, when Ringside Unified Fighting (RUF Nation) held a tournament in Glendale, Ariz. The winner of that competition was awarded with a $100,000 contract to ONE.
ONE Championship has attempted to distinguish itself from organizations like the UFC and Bellator by banning weight-cutting dehydration. This rule change came after ONE Championship fighter Yang Jian Bing died due to severe dehydration in December 2015 while attempting to make weight. Its new program focuses more on athlete safety by introducing “walking weight” competition, where fighters undergo multiple weigh-ins and tests before and during fight week.
An athlete’s walking weight is determined by a system that tracks a fighter’s weight on a consistent basis throughout the time the athlete is under contract with ONE.
Though all of ONE Championship’s events this year have been held in Singapore, U.S. viewers got a taste of what the promotion has to offer in April, when the company aired a 4-part event on TNT. The ratings for the events seesawed between 196,000 and 337,000 viewers over four weeks.