ONE Championship is the clear winner when compared to the UFC in Asia, if you ask ONE Championship’s Founder and Chairman Chatri Sityodtong.
Based on the latest numbers released by Nielsen and Repucom, Sityodtong claims that ONE Championship has outdone the UFC in nearly every category, emerging as Asia’s top MMA organization by a wide margin. In fact, the Thai entrepreneur insists it’s “not even close.”
Sityodtong cites the example of ONE Championship’s recent event in Manila, ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY. The event, which was headlined by Filipino ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang, is reported to have achieved ratings of 26 per cent, setting the record as the Philippines’ most-watched MMA show in broadcast history.
Comparatively, the UFC’s most-watched show in Asia, UFC 205, garnered just 6 per cent.
“Metrics indicate that ONE Championship is at least five to 10 times larger than UFC is in Asia, depending on the country,” added Sityodtong.
“Every major country is showing our content several hours per week, and even up to several hours per day in some countries. Coupled with our strong TV ratings, these metrics make ONE Championship the largest sports media property in Asia by a large margin in terms of audience scale, frequency, reach, and engagement.”
While ONE Championship has coexisted in recent years with the UFC – the predominant mixed martial arts promotion in North America – on a global scale, the Singapore-based organization has generated impressive figures in Asia, where the UFC is still trying to gain a foothold.
ONE Championship regularly holds events in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, and China, with plans this year to enter Vietnam, Japan, and Korea. A major factor in the organization’s success has been its focus on locally-relevant star athletes such as Folayang, who resonate with Asian audiences.
This is apparent in ONE Championship’s social media figures, which prove that Asia is indeed engaged with the organization and its content.
“Based on Q1 2017 actual results, our run rate is 4 billion social media impressions. We will likely exceed the 4 billion by year end due to sequential growth, as our numbers are compounding every month,” said Sityodtong. “The same goes for our social media video views. If I had to guess, we will likely do 500 million video views by year end.”
Despite ONE Championship’s success to date, the UFC has not given up on its efforts to establish themselves in Asia.
Just next month on 17 June, the promotion is taking its Eastern rival head-on by holding a show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium – where ONE Championship holds its events – headlined by ex-UFC Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm and former title challenger Bethe Correia. The UFC’s previous show in Singapore was held at the Marina Bay Sands.
However, Sityodtong stresses that the way the UFC presents its content just doesn’t work in in this part of the world.
“The reality is our product resonates with Asia because of our values and our celebration of true martial arts. Those values of humility, courage, discipline and honour. What the UFC does doesn’t resonate in Asia,” Sityodtong explained.
On 26 May, ONE Championship returns to the Singapore Indoor Stadium for their ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES card. The main event features a women’s title bout between ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee of Singapore and Istela Nunes of Brazil, while Malaysia’s Agilan Thani challenges ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren in the co-main event.