ONE Fighting Championship, Asia’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, is experiencing incredible growth with an ever-expanding fan base, substantial coverage in the local media and major corporations queuing up for endorsements, ONE FC director of public relations Loren Mack told Cambodian press officials during a meeting yesterday at the offices of Post Media.
During his presentation, Mack said that MMA was the world’s fastest growing sport, and cited charts and graphics detailing ONE FC’s exponential increase in publicity, viewership, television ratings and social media interest over the past two years.
He also noted that ONE FC was holding 12 events this calendar year, with numerous Asian countries in consideration as future host destinations. “Big things” would be announced soon regarding the Kingdom’s burgeoning MMA scene, according to the ONE FC official.
Some of world’s biggest names have already signed up to the Singapore-based organisation, and five more additions to its roster have recently been confirmed.
England’s Chi Lewis Parry, Ji Xian of China, Ukraine’s Igor Subora, Filipino Cary Bullos and Indonesia’s Yohan Mulia Legowo have all agreed to exclusive contracts and are set to make their respective debuts in upcoming tournaments.
Parry, who has a 5-0 pro MMA record, is the current UK heavyweight champion. Standing a towering two metres, he was previously a professional player in the British Basketball League and boasts the longest reach in the ONE FC heavyweight division.
Ji Xian has demonstrated that he can defeat most of the bantamweight fighters in Asia, having earned a championship belt while competing in the now-defunct Legend FC. All 11 of his wins have come via submission, a testament to the Chinese fighter’s grappling prowess.
Subora is the former URCC heavyweight champion, and his training in the combat sport of sambo has made him unstoppable since coming to Asia. Riding a five-fight winning streak, he takes a step up in competition and faces the best heavyweights in the world.
Bullos is one of the top mixed martial artists in the Philippines and the URCC bantamweight champion. He has been involved in martial arts since he was eight, and has competed in Muay Thai and judo.
He began his professional MMA career in 2006 and has won seven of his eight professional bouts, with all of his wins coming by stoppage.
Legowo grew up in Magelang, central Java, and was exposed to all forms of martial arts from a young age.
He has earned accolades in kickboxing, sanda and submission grappling, and like many Indonesian cage fighters has had a sustained run in the now-defunct TPIFC from 2002 to 2004, which included a contest against Fransino Tirta, another recent signing by ONE FC.
A broken arm in 2007 almost ended Legowo’s career, but he resiliently fought back, recuperating intensely before finally being able to return to MMA action in 2010.
ONE FC’s next event, titled ONE FC: Rise of Heroes, will take place at the 20,000-capacity Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on May 2, and will feature a ONE FC bantamweight world championship title bout between reigning champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes of Brazil and Japanese contender and ONE FC bantamweight Grand Prix winner Masakatsu Ueda.