ONE Championship’s first-ever US event, ONE Fight Night 10, went off to great fanfare in May, and the promotion’s co-founder Hua Fung Teh believes it’s just the start.
The sold-out show exceeded any expectations and suggested there’s plenty of room for the promotion billed as “The Home of Martial Arts” on the North American scene.
“We had our first event in Denver, Colorado, a month before the Nuggets won the NBA championship, so it was great timing,” Teh told CNBC.
“It was a sold-out event and broke all records in the US on our streaming platform, Amazon Prime Video.”
ONE Fight Night 10 may have been deemed a huge success, but ONE’s co-founder wasn’t completely surprised by how well the organization’s platform was received by the American fanbase.
He credits the global reach of combat sports for part of it, saying that it’s due to the ever-evolving interest in them that ONE will be returning to US shores more than once next year.
“To be honest, it’s not that surprising,” he said.
“Martial arts has been practiced by many people around the world, and it’s from Asia. You walk around the streets of London, New York, Doha, you will see martial arts gyms. While we’re based in Asia, it’s no surprise that we’re expanding.
“I think that event really showed us that we not only have a right to play, but a clear right to win in the US We are going to be having more events in the US next year, and we’re also looking to expand the partnership with Amazon.”
With its US debut event now in the books, ONE is looking to conquer new markets in the coming months – starting with the Middle East.
The promotion has been working with Qatar Media City for some time, and has a broadcasting deal with BeIN SPORTS.
Teh referenced ONE’s new agreement with the brand when discussing its plans to bring a show to the region in the very near future.
“We signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Qatar Media City to bring our live events to Qatar. We have a three-year relationship now with Qatar,” he said.
“Qatar Investment Authority led our last investment round 18 months ago, and since then, we have gotten more and more deeply networked in the Qatari ecosystem. We have signed with BeIN SPORTS in the Middle East as well as Qatar Media City to do a reality program in Doha.
“We’ve worked with Qatar on our version of The Apprentice, but now we will be bringing our crown jewel in the live event to Doha, and it could happen as soon as this year.”