Eddie Alvarez signs with ONE Championship

October 15, 2018

ONE Championship has signed Eddie Alvarez to a contract making the former UFC and Bellator lightweight to the Asia-based company.  According to the promotion’s press release, it’s a multiple bout contract.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Payout Perspective:

The signing is a coup for ONE Championship who may seek to extend its reach to North America.  Thus far, the company has grown exponentially since its start in the early 2010s.  It has Ben Askren and former UFC star Brandon Vera on its roster as well as several top fighters in Asia.  Alvarez joining the promotion should bolster fans of Alvarez in the U.S. which may, in turn, mean a foray into North America.

At 34, its probably the best possible deal for Alvarez.  He’s nearing the end of his peak earning as an MMA fighter and ONE is likely paying him much more than the UFC or Bellator would offer.  This may serve as an option for other fighters that may be nearing the end of their deal in the UFC or Bellator that there are other options in the industry.

ONE FC App to help with presence in North America

May 4, 2018

ONE FC announced on Friday that a new mobile app will allow users to watch live events for free.  “ONE Super App” is now available on Android and iOS for users to access the promotion’s fights.

The promotion has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Singtel Group and its mobile associates Globe and Telkomsel.

Previously, fans in North America only way to access ONE FC was through iPPVs.  The app will help broaden the promotion’s reach.

Payout Perspective:

It’s a great move by the promotion to extend its reach to North American fans.  Only the most dedicated MMA fans would access ONE FC, which holds its events in Asia.  The new app should benefit the company and will be attractive to potential advertisers.  The company already has solid deals with blue chip sponsors in Asia and its extension with this app should bring more of a presence in North America.

OneFC receives investment to expand promotion

July 22, 2017

MMA Promotion OneFC has received an injection of cash from venture capital firm Sequoia India and investment firm Mission Holdings according to a report from the New York Times.  According to the promotion, it has raised over $100 million in total cash in its 6 years in existence.

The investment will aid the company make a further push into Asia including Korea, Japan and eventually India.

Payout Perspective:

The investment will help the promotion enlarge its footprint in Asia.  The influx of money reflects the positive momentum of the company and the belief from the investors that the company is on the uptick.  The article indicates that the UFC is attempting to make inroads into Asia despite the fact that OneFC maintains a steady base of events on the continent.

ONE Championships eyes U.S. streaming deal

March 16, 2017

The Singapore-based ONE Championships is near a streaming deal which will make it easier for U.S. fans to watch its fights.

Currently, it costs $9.99 per event on the promotion’s web site to watch ONE Championship events.

ONE spokesperson, Loren Mack, indicated that the company will still have events onllne but the new deal will make it easier for fans in the U.S. to watch.

The promotion is based primarily in Asia and has a vast following there than in North American where big MMA diehards follow the sport.  For more on the promotion, we interviewed CEO Victor Cui a while back about the company.

Payout Perspective:

The new deal will likely make it more accessible for fans here in the U.S. which leads me to believe that it will partner with someone with an existing over the top platform.  The plan is a sign of growth for the company and a hope to open up more fans to the sport via a streaming deal.

Pacquiao buys ownership stake in OneFC

August 3, 2014

Yahoo! Sports reports that Manny Pacquiao has purchased a stake in Asian MMA organization OneFC.  CEO Victor Cui confirmed the transaction to Yahoo! Sports.

Cui told Yahoo! Sports that Pacquiao would be promoting OneFC and the sport in the region.  Pacquiao’s celebrity status should help garner more attention for the brand. The MMA organization is already popular in the Philippines and in addition to Pacquiao’s involvement it has signed former UFC star Brandon Vera.

Payout Perspective:

Wise investment for Pacquiao?  He is set as head coach of a PBA team so why not own a part of an MMA organization.

It certainly is a positive for OneFC.  While it has a strong following in Asia with good mainstream sponsors within the region and a solid television deal, the UFC is starting to make inroads.  OneFC has made moves to increase its exposure.  It has signed Ben Askren and Brandon Vera, Rich Franklin has been added to the front office, announced shows in mainland China and now Pacquiao.  For Pacquiao, it provides a level of investment and a possible way to stay visible after his days of boxing are over.

OneFC to hold events in China

June 21, 2014

MMA Fighting reports that OneFC has signed a deal with AMC Live Group which will have the MMA promotion holding events in mainland China.  The Singapore-based MMA Company had focused its efforts on other parts of Asia prior to last week’s announcement.

Currently, OneFC plans to hold 4 events in China in the second half of 2014 and another 10 in 2015.  It plans to hold the events in various cities in China.  AMC Live Group is a Chinese event planner which had mainly dealt with concerts in the past.

No announcements have been made as to when the 2014 events will take place.

Payout Perspective:

While most of us in North America may not readily comprehend the impact this move has, it is an important step for the growth of the sport of MMA and its business.  The NBA saw the opportunity the Chinese market had and it continues to cater to this market.  The UFC hopes to one day have cards in mainland China.  The huge population and the economic impact it can have on MMA business would be great (read: there a lot of people that have money to spend).  OneFC has been a mainstay in the Asian market for a while; it has solid sponsors and a solid stable of fighters.  Making inroads into mainland China should help its business greatly.  We will see if the casual Chinese fan will be excited for OneFC’s brand of MMA.

Askren will make $50K/$50K in One FC

January 24, 2014

Ben Askren recently opened up to SI.com about his choice to sign with One FC.  He also revealed his contract with the organization based out of Singapore and his fight pay.

Askren signed a six fight deal with One FC where he will make $50K to show and $50K for a win. As with most fight deals, his pay would escalate should he continue to win.  According to the article, Askren will not move to Asia citing the fact that his family and his two wrestling schools are here.  He indicated that he will train at Evolve MMA in Singapore immediately before any of his One FC fights.

Askren spurned WSOF for Victor Cui’s organization citing more money and the opportunity for him and his family to travel worldwide.

Payout Perspective:

Money is likely the driving factor for Askren to jump to One FC.  Certainly the “see the world” opportunity is enticing for Askren’s family but couldn’t they go on family vacations while staying near home?  According to One FC, its events are well-received in the regions it promotes so we will see how receptive the Asian fans are with Askren.  The organization also boasts a major television deal and blue chip sponsors in Asia which Askren may attempt to solicit for endorsement deals.  One would think that Askren will be promoted heavily and the center of any card he fights on for One FC.

For One FC, it’s an opportunity for the company to make inroads into the American market via streaming.

OneFC featured in NY Times article

May 3, 2013

The New York Times ran an article on Asian MMA organization OneFC this past week.  The article focused on the building of the organization and the possibility that MMA will be a sport on the rise in Asia.

The article speaks with Victor Cui, the CEO of OneFC, and covers the company’s swift expansion and popularity since its inception in 2011.

It also interviewed UFC’s managing director of Asia Mark Fischer and the company’s aspiration for the promotion to extend its brand into Asia.  Fischer stated that market surveys show that it is making a dent in the Chinese market – a key market in the region, along with India.

Not included in the article but of note for the OneFC organization was its recent Asian MMA Summit which invites promoters, trainers, gym owners and others to discuss the business of MMA in Asia.  The effort is spearheaded by Cui and one of its perks is to allow fighters on cross promotional cards in an effort to share the talent.

Payout Perspective:

The OneFC feature is a great public relations piece considering that all of its events occur in Asia.  The company’s popularity is shown through its sold out shows, a lucrative television deal and blue chip sponsors.  It has retained key sponsors such as Sony, Carl’s Jr, Schick Razor and Energizer.  It recently signed an exclusive content deal with Yahoo! Philippines – the country’s number one news site.  Also, Cui’s Asian MMA Summit is an effort to collaborate with other MMA organizations in discussing MMA business across Asia as well as share talent for its shows.

With the UFC is still growing its brand in Asia, it will be interesting to see the continued expansion of OneFC.  Cui’s group is focused on regional expansion and its focus remains on Asia while the UFC’s counts Asia as a major piece in its global goal.

Of note, a week previously, the New York Times ran a story on the front page of the Sports Section on Jon Jones in promotion of UFC 159.  The OneFC feature made it two weeks in a row that the paper had detailed stories in on MMA.

OneFC CEO Cui sees fight network as a sign of “exponential growth of MMA in Asia”

November 29, 2012

MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak with OneFC CEO Victor Cui about the company’s recent agreement with Glory Sports International to a fighter exchange program.

”[The move] shows the exponential growth of MMA in Asia,” Cui added, “It’s a distinct Asian approach.” Cui points to the collaborative and inclusive approach of the OneFC Network which was established during its Fighter Summit in 2011. Fighters in the OneFC Network are allowed to fight with other promotions and vice versa.

Although OneFC will not be promoting the event on December 31st, Cui’s OneFC fighters will be on the card. Cui confirmed that Bibiano Fernandez, Shinya Aoki, Phil Baroni and Melvin Manhoef are scheduled to appear on the New Year’s Eve card to be held at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan.   Cui indicated that there may be more OneFC fighters although nothing had been confirmed.

Via OneFC press release:

Both internationally recognized organizations have agreed to fighter exchanges. It means that any GSI MMA fighter will automatically be eligible to compete exclusively in Asia on ONE FC and any ONE FC fighter will automatically be eligible to compete in GSI MMA events which are currently held under the DREAM brand in Japan. Fighter exchanges are expected to happen with immediate effect. The fighter exchange program also covers ONE FC Network of other affiliate association and gyms across Asia.

Highlighting this recent collaboration, Cui extolled the virtue of the OneFC fighter exchange program stating “it’s for the benefit of its fighters, fans and promoters.”  Cui indicated that the program ensures that the participating promotions will take care of its fighters.

As for OneFC, it plans on doing 12-14 of its own events in 2013 starting in Malaysia on February 2nd. Cui projects the company doing 18-24 events in 2014.  It also boasts an ESPN television contract in Asia which will help with the promotion of its product.

Payout Perspective:

The fighter exchange is a unique idea and should bolster the New Year’s Eve show for Glory and Dream.  OneFC will still benefit from the exposure of its fighters at the event and will be able to utilize any Glory fighters for its own events.  With a television contract with ESPN, we should look for more promoters to work with OneFC.  Cui also indicated that OneFC will have big news with a major sponsor for 2013 which will be announced next month.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Payout Exclusive: One FC’s Victor Cui

June 20, 2012

MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak with Victor Cui, the CEO of ONE Fighting Championship.  Cui talked about the growth potential for Asian MMA, growth opportunities and sponsorships.

Since officially launching the company in 2011, it has become the #1 MMA sports organization in Asia.  It recently conducted a summit meeting of major players in eastern MMA with the hopes of setting forth a network of fight partnerships that will bring MMA to Asia.

“On a personal level, I have been preparing to do this my entire life,” Cui said.  The CEO of One FC is Chinese Filipino and was born in Canada, but raised in Africa.  “I am lucky to do what I love,” Cui added, “I love MMA, I love the sports industry and I love Asia.”

“My whole career background I have been involved in entrepreneurial initiatives and the last 6 and a half years have been in the sports media.” Before launching the company, Cui conducted research on MMA in Asia.  “The sport [MMA] exploded all over the world but it is in its infancy in Asia.”

Cui worked for a regional sports company across Asia before establishing One FC.  This experience gave him the opportunity to look at all types of sports.  “I looked at tennis to golf to table tennis.”  He also helped in bringing the X-Games to China.

“There are 3.9 billion people in Asia,” stated Cui.  Although there are different socio-economic issues with each country which may prevent the people from following sports, Cui believes that every country has a connection with martial arts.  “Every single country at its core has martial arts in its history.”

Based on the martial arts connection, asking people to follow MMA is easy to do.  “The cultural leap is easy to follow.”  Cui indicated that the media in Asia is embracing MMA.

One FC will have 8 events this year with the prospect of having 18 in 2013.  As far as which countries it will go in Asia, Cui stated, “There’s a lot of plotting in place.  You have to line up your ducks in a row before getting into each country. One FC is looking at Asia as a whole.”  According to Cui, live attendance at OneFC events have been “phenomenal.”  After its event Saturday in Kuala Lumpur, it will head to the Philippines and Singapore later this year.

“One FC has regional properties but global fans.  We’ve got fans all over.”  As for fighters, “International names with international following are helpful for shows.”  However, Cui is also looking into developing Asian MMA stars.

One of the ideas coming out of its summit was the One FC Network.  “It brought together every single promoter and MMA gym owner (in Asia).”  The belief is that the Network would pull together the best fighter from an organization and put them on a One FC card.  This would bring better quality fights and a better experience for fans.

“We now have access to every top fighter in every country (in Asia),” Cui explained,”The One FC Network is a fighter network and as fighters develop, they get an opportunity to compete on a One FC card.”

Cui stated that MMA is “still growing at an explosive rate.” Based on the popularity, MMA gyms are continuing to expand.  Cui brought up the example of Malaysia where a particular gym has opened up 6 more franchises in the country.  “Grassroots growth is very high.”  Yet, MMA skills are still behind that in North America.  “Outside Japan and Korea the level of skill is nowhere near that of the U.S.”  Cui cites wrestling as an attribute that North Americans have that Asian MMA must still cultivate.

Additional questions from the Cui interview:

MP:  Does the UFC’s expansion into India and Asia help or hurt your own plans for your company?

Cui:  “The UFC is a fantastic organization.  I think its great (regarding UFC’s expansion).  Its always good when there’s more people contributing to the growth of the sport.”

MP: What is the biggest challenge for your organization?

Cui:  “The challenge is the rapid pace of growth (of One FC).”

Cui cited an example that occurred last week in which One FC held a small media event for some of the editors in Malaysia to talk about One FC.  Cui indicated that the small event turned into a huge turnout as major tv stations and senior editors from different organizations came out. The media event was on the front page of one of the largely distributed papers in Malaysia.

MP:  Are companies willing to sponsor the organization’s product?  If so, what companies?

Cui:  “We are close with a lot of companies.”  Cui noted SONY, Carl’s Jr., Energizer, Schick Razor and Chevrolet (in Malaysia) are all sponsors of One FC.

“We only look for long term deals and sponsors,” said Cui.  “We are not interested in “one-offs.”

In addition, the sponsors have collaborated with One FC in brand activation.  This includes a Sony promotion in which it gave away $4,000 to the best ring entrance at a One FC event.  Also,  Carl’s Jr. has One FC promotional material in many of its franchises in Asia.

Payout Perspective:

We normally do not take a look at MMA outside of the UFC (or outside of North America) however Cui’s One FC Network is an interesting organization that has grown substantially in just a year’s time.  Its 10 year contract with ESPN Star Sports delivers its fights to over 500 million fight fans throughout Asia.  The television deal is astounding as well as the blue chip sponsors it has in its stable.  The One FC Network is a unique idea that has brought together multiple organizations in Asia and we will see how the relationship will continue.  Its good insight on the global growth of the sport and how MMA is gaining worldwide acceptance.

ONE FC is holding an online PPV this Saturday, June 23rd.  It is available on its web site at OneFC.com.  The first four fights will be free and the rest of the card will be $9.99.  The card starts 5:00am PDT and 8:00am EDT.

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