If Cambodian fighters didn’t have enough incentives already to grab a place on ONE Fighting Championship’s mixed martial arts card on September 12 at Koh Pich Theatre, yesterday’s announcement by ONE FC CEO Victor Cui of a $50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus to all those who represent the spirit of MMA just made the stakes irresistible.
The match-ups for ONE FC’s inaugural fight night in Cambodia, entitled Rise of the Kingdom, have yet to be announced, and MMA gyms are pushing for their members to be included in one of the numerous bouts promised to feature local prospects.
In a post on his Facebook page yesterday, Cui said: “For every event, the bar will be very, very high. If a few fighters impress me, then I will hand out the bonus to a few fighters. If no one impresses me, then no one will get it.”
He added: “Extraordinary performance deserves extraordinary rewards. Ordinary performances deserve ordinary rewards."
The potential windfall easily eclipses any amount available to champions of MMA or Cambodian kickboxing (Kun Khmer) in domestic competitions.
At CTN’s cage fighting tournament Khmer Warrior Championship, last year’s winners Khon Sechan (57kg) and Yous Samal (60kg) were reported to have received about $3,000 each.
Kickboxer Khon Reach had to take victories in nine fights at 71kg in the 2013 Pandey Wine Championship to collect his prize money of 10 million riel ($2,485).
Four criteria have been outlined for the decision to award a fighter with a ONE Warrior Bonus: thrilling the fans with exciting action, demonstrating an incredible warrior spirit, exhibiting amazing skill and delivering a phenomenal finish.
The announcement, which stated that the bonus scheme would be implemented immediately, came just two days ahead of ONE FC’s ground-breaking event in Taiwan, War of Dragons.
Tomorrow night’s 11-bout card at the National Taiwan University Sports Center in Taipei will be headlined by a featherweight contest between Filipino Eric Kelly (10-1) and Rob Lisita (14-5) of Australia.
In the co-main event, Japanese lightweight Koji Ando (9-3-2) will take on undefeated Brazilian Rafael Nunes (10-0).
Other matches include Japan’s Koetsu Okazaki (9-3-1) of Japan against fellow bantamweight Yusup Saadulaev (12-3-1) of Russia, light heavyweight Jake Butler (3-1) of the US facing Egypt’s Mohamed Ali (9-6) and hometown heavyweight hero Paul Cheng (4-1) going toe-to-toe with Mahmoud Hassan (1-3) of Egypt.
A rousing rematch between English heavyweight Chi Lewis Parry (5-0) and Hong Kong’s Alain Ngalani (1-1) will also be fought along with Taiwanese bantamweight Sung Ming-yen (2-1) against Singapore’s Nick Lee (2-1), Zhang Zheng-jie (2-0) of Taiwan taking on Malaysia lightweight Rayner Kinsiong (2-0), Taiwan welterweight Jeff Huang (3-1) facing MMA debutant Bala Shetty of India and cage fighting newcomer Nathan Ng of Hong Kong clashing with French featherweight Florian Garel (2-3).
Fight fans can watch the action live on STARSports from 6pm Cambodian time.