ONE eyes more events in bubble
MANILA, Philippines—ONE Championship isn’t slowing down any time soon.
Some countries have been able to successfully curb the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the mixed martial arts promotions plan to continue to hold fight cards in nations wherein the virus have taken a dip.
ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong said he intends to keep staging events in Singapore, China, and Thailand but he’ll do so in a strict bubble environment.
“You’re going to see more international events from other countries because we are talking to other governments around the world for our international events,” said Sityodtong in a virtual press conference Saturday.
ONE, as any other sporting company, had to cease operations when the COVID-19 pandemic but slowly got back to staging fights nearly four months after the world imposed lockdowns starting with Hero Series 13 on June 20 in China.
A couple of events were held in China before the promotion held six more cards in Thailand but these shows didn’t have live audiences in attendance and only the fighters based in the two countries were allowed to compete.
The promotion’s first fight card that saw fighters come from different countries happened on Oct. 9 for Reign of Dynasties with ONE imposing a bubble environment in Singapore.
Come Oct. 30, ONE will have a third fight card at Singapore Indoor Stadium and it’ll have four title fights with Aung La N Sang’s defense of his middleweight title against Reinier De Ridder headlining the massive event.
Inside the Matrix, the third Singapore card, will also be the first event that will have a live audience albeit being limited to 250 individuals.
“October 9th was a huge turning point for us a couple weeks ago,” said Sityodtong. “The fact that the last month we are working with the Singapore government to bring back sports, international events of any kind actually, music, entertainment, sports, ONE Championship to lead the way with Singapore and we did it in October 9th flawlessly, our COVID-19 protocol was very strong and everything went without a hitch and in fact October 30th we’re opening up the venue now to 250 super fans and that will be a mark for another step towards the right direction of having our full scale events back.”
Sityodtong believes that going back to hosting fight cards with thousands of attendees would take “12 to 24 months” but the desire to eventually going back to countries such as Philippines and Japan is still there.
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