ONE Championship aims to elevate Asian MMA with Temasek’s financial muscle

SINGAPORE — Asia’s premier mixed martial arts organization, ONE Championship, announced a massive financial breakthrough on Wednesday that the company has received eight-figure backing from the Singapore-government managed Temasek Holdings.

The investment is coursed through a Temasek subsidiary — Heliconia Capital Management — and allows ONE access to the firm’s network, contacts and resources which boasts of a S$242 billion portfolio. ONE Championship Chairman Chatri Sityodtong also briefed the media.

“I expect to see an acceleration in business fundamentals across the board for ONE Championship,” said Sityodtong. “As Asia’s largest sports media property and the 2nd largest MMA organization in the world, ONE Championship will benefit significantly from Heliconia’s ecosystem, network, and resources.”

With now unfathomably deep resources, ONE Championship aims to further expand its reach across Asia and continue its dominance as the region’s top MMA organization. This means tapping into new markets like South Korea and Japan, according to Sityodtong, as well simplifying the process of breaking into the mainland China market.

Breaking into new cities is not something new for the company, but with massive financial backing, it should make work much easier.

ONE made waves over a month ago by holding the first ever live MMA event from a major promotion in Bangkok, Thailand. The promotion’s next event is scheduled for Macau in mid-August. It will be the first event held by ONE Championship in Macau.

In addition, ONE Championship also now has the ability to sign more high-profile MMA athletes.

Currently, welterweight champion Ben Askren, lightweight champion Shinya Aoki, bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes, and women’s atomweight champion Angela Lee are world-ranked athletes who are in the top 20 in their weight classes.

With Heliconia’s backing, ONE can now attract more high-profile free agents to rival the deep talent pool employed in the west. More high-profile fighters means more mass appeal for ONE not only in Asia, but in other regions as well.

“I believe this partnership marks the beginning of a long and fruitful journey to bring ONE Championship to the rest of the world,” said ONE CEO Victor Cui.

Prior to the partnership being made public, ONE Championship officials teased of a ground-breaking announcement that would shake up the entire Asian MMA scene. With the aid of Heliconia Capital, the ball is now in ONE Championship’s court and the future of Asian MMA appears brighter than ever. –By Carlos Miguel Cinco

Follow this writer on Twitter: @CarlosCincoFCB