One Championship founder Chatri Sityodtong has tapped into the spiritual heartland of martial arts to build a billion dollar empire. In six short years Sityodtong has grown One Championship, a televised mixed martial arts competition, broadcast to more than 1 billion viewers across 128 countries, into a business that is worth close to one billion dollars.

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One Championship founder Chatri Sityodtong (Photo: Courtesy of One Championship)

Although One Championship is not the sole competior in the martial arts arena, US rival Ultimate Fighting Championship is the biggest in the West, One dominates the vast Asian marketplace with a 90 per cent market share, in part because its founder has had great success in finding and promoting Asian sports heroes. Indeed, Sityodtong is one himself.

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A trained martial artist, Sityodtong is living proof that it is possible to overcome life's toughest challenges. Born into a wealthy Thai family, his father went bankrupt during the Asian financial crisis. At one point, was forced to get by on US$4 a day at one point. With grit and determination, Sityodtong went on to earn a Harvard Business School MBA, established a software startup in Silicon Valley, managed hedge funds on Wall Street and, eventually, becoming a self-made multimillionaire with the launch of One in 2011.

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Photo: Courtesy of One Championship

One has an ambitious schedule of 18 events for 2017, including One: Kings & Conquerors, a 12-fight card on August 5 at Cotai Arena at The Venetian Macao , which previously played host to One’s Heroes of the World event in August last year. 

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“Our last show did extremely well to showcase our unique brand of world-class martial arts action, and we are excited to do it all over again this August. We have an amazing card planned for fans all across the world, including a blockbuster championship showdown between tremendous competitors in Bibiano Fernandes and Andrew Leone. The interesting clash of styles should provide fans a solid matchup,” says Sityodtong.

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Bibiano Fernandes (right) Photo: Courtesy of The Venetian Macao

The main event features One Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes of Brazil who will defend his title against top contender Andrew Leone of the US. In addition to the headlining bout, Kairat Akhmetov will face Adriano Moraes to crown the undisputed One Flyweight World Champion in the evening’s co-main event.

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Andrew Leone (right) Photo: Courtesy of The Venetian Macao

Adding to the action spectacular are some of the brightest international stars on the Asian MMA circuit, including 27-year old Timofey Nastyukhin from Russia competing in the stacked lightweight division, where he will meet Koji Ando, one of Japan’s fiercest competitors; Shannon Wiratchai of Thailand who takes on 34-year old veteran Rob Lisita of Australia; and 21-year old strawweight Joshua Pacio of the Philippines who will lock horns with 30-year old Hayato Suzuki of Japan.

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Adriano Moraes (left) Photo: Courtesy of The Venetian Macao

Eric Kelly of the Philippines, widely considered as one of the country’s best homegrown martial artists, takes on Kotetsu Boku originally from South Korea by way of Japan; unbeaten 28-year old Chen Lei of China combats bantamweight striker Saiful Merican of Malaysia; 28-year old Herbert Burns of Brazil squares off against Russian combatant Magomed Idrisov; and 28-year old female atom weight from Bangkok, Thailand Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige takes on the Philippines’ Jomary Torres.

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Finally, 30-year old martial arts veteran Leandro Ataides of Brazil goes up against middleweight contender Michal Pasternak of Poland; Finland’s Toni Tauru will go shot for shot with Brazil’s Leandro Issa and Marcin Prachnio from Poland battles Gilberto Galvão from Brazil.

August 5
One Championship: Kings & Conquerors

Cotai Arena, The Venetian Macao
+853 2882 8818, cotaiticketing.com, onefc.com

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Tags: Macau Events, The Venetian Macao, Cotai Arena, Mixed Martial Arts, Chatri Sityodtong, One Championship