Asian MMA

ONE Championship cuts Workforce, Bulks up Reserves

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Major Asian MMA organization, ONE Championship, has laid off 20% of its employees while simultaneously pursuing another round of investment. The organization, which also promotes kickboxing and Muay Thai fights alongside MMA, reported both of these decisions in a public company statement. It is estimated that ONE has roughly 400 employees. However, it is unknown how many precisely will be affected by these layoffs beyond the 20% figure provided by ONE.

ONE announces two big numbers

ONE has been forced, like many other promotions, to close down operations because of complications caused by COVID-19. Five events, four in Singapore and one in the Philippines, were cancelled as a result. It has announced plans to resume promotion in the summer, though President and CEO Chatri Sityodtong has cited safety as the top priority.

ONE Championship gets a lifeline

The $70 million USD it has just drummed up from its latest round of finding investment comes at a much needed time for ONE. The Singaporean promotion has been in hot water recently over concerns over its spiralling losses-to-revenue ratio. ONE’s complex bookkeeping combined with its frequently optimistic public statements make its true worth difficult to determine.

This is especially true because ONE does not currently operate on a PPV-based system. Its events are streamed free on its YouTube channel. This is part and parcel of a strategy that hopes to push ONE’s visibility as much as possible at the cost of heavy short-term losses. But its plans for a public offering by 2016 fell through. ONE laying off such a significant portion of its staff may mark the end of its initial expansion period.

In addition, Cosmo Alexandre, a mixed martial artist signed to ONE, has spoken out over pay complaints. The former kickboxer, who shocked the world with his stunning victory over Sage Northcutt in May 2019, has not fought since. Alexandre blames this on pay disputes and says that ONE will not release him from his contract either.

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