Denver, CO — ONE Championship makes its U.S. debut this Friday night, and promotion Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong is on hand to oversee ONE Fight Night 10 in Colorado.
Overshadowing the event somewhat has been the announcement by Sityodtong that ONE was dropping out of the race for Francis Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion. Ngannou entered the free agent market earlier this year, and had previously stated that his decision on the MMA side of things (the heavyweight is still pursuing a payday in boxing) had come down to the PFL and ONE Championship.
Sityodtong provided a bit of detail into what ONE’s offer would have been during a media scrum ahead of ONE Fight Night 10.
“I wish Francis the very best, he’s a good guy, a good champion. It’s unfortunate that ONE, that we decided to withdraw from the process, but it doesn’t take anything away from his life story,” Sityodtong stated when asked about the heavyweight. “Incredible. He has incredible martial arts, I wish him the best wherever he goes, wherever he ends up. Francis is a stud, he’s a good guy. He’s also a very good guy.”
As to what ONE Championship was prepared to offer “The Predator,” “I can tell you that our offer included, which we never finalized and submitted, but my contract for him, it was a minimum $20 million dollar guarantee for two fights, and then more fights beyond that and a bunch of other stuff. But like I said, what it came down to was not the money, it was non-financial stuff.”
Rather than focus on that, however, Sityodtong said “I’d rather focus on ‘hey look, it didn’t work out with Francis, but we wish him the very, very best. He’s a stud, he’s a good guy, he’s going to do well in like no matter what.”
Now, it’s on to ONE Fight Night 10. ONE’s chief exec is happy with the response to the Asian promotion’s American coming out party thus far.
“A lot of state athletic commissions have approved or are in the process of approving the Global Ruleset. American fans are clamouring, the Amazon numbers, the Amazon leadership is coming, and afterwards we’re going to sit down and say how to we broaden, how do we deepen, how do we expand the partnership? Our numbers have beaten Amazon’s internal expectations by a large margin. It’s just really exciting times.”
Watch the full ONE Fight Night 10 media scrum with Chatri Sityodtong above.