It’s probably telling that a number of fans and even media members have been asking ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong about fighting Dana White.
It’s rather hilarious to think anyone would expect the heads of two of the world’s major MMA promotions to duke it out. Then again, Dana White was once expected to box Tito Ortiz, so anything is possible.
The subject was brought up again at ONE: Revolution’s post-fight press conference on Friday. “The two most common questions I get on my social media, or even ONE Championship, is when will there be a ONE versus UFC event, and I would love to do that in a heartbeat, champion versus champion,” said Sityodtong. “And then the second question I always get is, whenever I post— my brown belt promotion, ‘go fight Dana,’ or whenever I post a video of me doing Muay Thai, ‘go fight Dana.'”
Sityodtong, however, questions whether it would be a fair fight. “I honestly don’t think that would be competitive. Does Dana even do martial arts? I don’t think so. I don’t know what his background is. I think he’s an awesome businessman, he’s a great fight promoter, but I don’t think he does martial arts. Not that I know of.”
The question originally arose when the ONE exec was asked about comments White had made in relation to a planned Demetrious Johnson vs. Rodtang special rules bout. At ONE X, the pair are expected to compete in a four-round MMA/Muay Thai hybrid fight — though a COVID-19 positive from Rodtang could see the fight delayed.
White, for his part, wasn’t a fan of the idea, suggesting Muay Thai and MMA should be left separate.
“Dana is a great businessman, but he doesn’t know anything about martial arts,” Sityodtong said in response. “I don’t think he even knows how to throw a leg kick. He talks like it with his athletes, but I’d love to see a video of him throwing a leg kick. So I don’t think he’s qualified to talk about Muay Thai.”
“For me, we have a different approach,” ONE Championship’s CEO continued. “UFC is the largest mixed martial arts organization in the world, ONE is the largest martial arts organization. In that we have many verticals of martial arts. We have mixed martial arts, we have Muay Thai, we have kickboxing, we’ve even had a boxing world title fight, we have submission grappling. We try to excite and delight and surprise combat sports fans from all over the world, and from all genres.”
“[Dana White] can take whatever digs he wants, I’ll take a dig at his leg kicks,” Sityodtong added.
Coming up, ONE Championship will be looking to extend its reach in North America. After a series of shows on Turner’s TNT earlier this year, the promotion is looking for a new TV deal. That could include a return to TNT, or a new broadcast home stateside.
“CAA [Creative Artists Agency] represents us in the U.S. I can tell you that we’ve been on a U.S. media rights roadshow the last several weeks, talking to all major network broadcasters as well as the digital players in the U.S. Knock on wood, if conversations continue as they are, we will have some good news to announce in the coming weeks,” revealed Sityodtong. “Still, we’re right in the middle of it. Obviously Turner is in those discussions as well, but we’re talking to every broadcaster. CAA lined this up for us.”
AEW, the pro wrestling outfit ONE was paired with on TNT, moves to the larger TBS starting in January 2022. That leaves something of a gap in TNT’s programming. Whether ONE follows, returns to TNT, or moves elsewhere remains to be seen.
Watch the full ONE: Revolution post-fight press conference with Chatri Sityodtong above.