In a sometimes quite patriotic press conference ONE Championship announced its upcoming March 11 event in Bangkok, Thailand.
The press conference at the Sukosol hotel in downtown Bangkok saw all the main players for the March 11 event, dubbed Warrior Kingdom, in attendance. Angela Lee, the Atomweight Champion, her opponent Jenny Huang as well as Thai icons Dejdamrong and ‘Little Tyson’ who all will be in action in the Impact Arena. Moreover we also saw a newcomer introduced in Rika Ishige who is one part of a ONE MMA power couple. Her significant other, Shannon Wiratchai, will also fight at the event. #relationshipgoals
After a short, not very well prepared intro by the MC, Chatri Sityodtong, the founder of ONE Championship and Thai native took to the stage and was obviously rather annoyed by the MC’s lack of correct translation. He then spoke in both English and Thai to make sure the audience will truly understand the passion he has for the business after having lived through a very tough childhood, moving to the US and coming back decades later as the man who runs Asia’s biggest sports media property.
In his speech Chatri Sityodtong mentioned quite often how important his heritage is to him and how important it is to show the world that Thai fighters can dominate the world stage and how proud he is to show the world that a Thai business man is able to run the biggest sports property in Asia and compete on a global level. It was rather interesting to see that all the Thai fighters who also got to speak briefly shared similar thoughts, even Jenny Huang, who was announced to compete out of Chinese Taipei said she was proud to represent Taiwan while Angela Lee wasn’t mentioning any kind of heritage but praised the impact of female Martial Arts these days and that she is proud to pave the way and help promote it further. She thinks that it is important that women are able to defend themselves as it gives them confidence and would help to move Asia further towards gender equality. Chatri mentioned similar thoughts before and said it is an issue dear to his heart to move Asia further towards equality on all levels and he sees it as his mission to use ONE Championship to achieve such goals.
Besides talking about some interesting, societal issues, ONE also showed some really well produced hype videos of ONE, Jenny Huang’s latest insane submission victory, and Angela Lee’s way to the top. That did a really good job in getting the audience hyped for the event.
Also in attendance was Thaitanium, one of the two Thai top music acts performing at the March 11 event.
To end on a short personal note: It was very interesting to see the two women who are going to compete in the main event acting very well spoken and even also props to Jenny Huang for giving a short speech in English even though a Mandarin translator was present. Chatri, by the way, also mentioned – even though many people told him he couldn’t have a female fight as the main event in patriarchal Thailand, he did this completely on purpose as per his quest mentioned above to promote gender equality in Asia.
Asked in regards to his expectations he said he is expecting further, immense, growth for ONE Championship as it had been growing on an insane rate over the past years. ONE is the only sports promotion to fill out the biggest arenas all over Asia and he expects Impact Arena here in Thailand to be completely sold out.
Overall ONE did a very good job in introducing the fighters and the event as a must see show. It even managed to have lots of traditional Thai media in attendance which is pretty impressive since, not long ago, most Thai media was labeling MMA as ‘not a sport’ or ‘unwanted sport’ but now seems to be completely on board with what seems to be one of the biggest sports booms we have seen in recent history.
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