ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong did not mince words during his appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani about the state of the MMA landscape. Sityodtong was there talking about all things ONE, including their upcoming U.S. debut event, ONE Fight Night 10, on May 5. When asked about the global picture of the sport, he was clear there is a global duopoly for martial arts.
It was not merely a claim laid out by ONE’s CEO. Sityodtong referenced facts from Nielsen’s 2022 report “Year In Review: Sports Consumption Evolution.” The report took a look at the 20 largest global sports media properties, where only ONE and the UFC were represented for combat sports.
Among the first stats listed by Sityodtong was Nielsen’s findings for global cumulative television reach. ONE came in with 406 million, with UFC following at 259 million viewers. Bellator, who Sityodtong referenced as the only other global combat sports property, checked in far behind with 9 million.
Sityodtong followed it by looking at the social media metrics for the major players in the industry. Nielsen’s data also touched on engagement rates, where only the UFC and ONE ranked for combat sports. It continued to bolster Sityodtong’s point of how the landscape of the sport is in 2023.
“Look at the numbers of followers, look at the engagement rates, look at the organic video views. Let’s just take Facebook, for example. The UFC has about 40 million fans on Facebook. We have 38 million fans on Facebook. Bellator, I think, has 2 million, 3 million. I think PFL has 1 million. But you got to look at engagement rates. That’s how you know if you have a real fanbase,” said Sityodtong.
The man behind ONE then shifted to valuations for the properties. Following the announcement of the merger between the UFC and WWE, the UFC received a $12.1 billion valuation. ONE holds a $1.4 billion valuation. No other combat sports property is over the billion dollar threshold.
“I would rather look at hard facts and figures, verifiable. And anyone can do this. Just go to Nielsen.com and download the report. They have all of the metrics across TV, social media, digital, etc. etc. Instead of rhetoric, right,” said Sityodtong.
It is difficult to refute where the landscape is currently given Nielsen’s report. ONE and the UFC have separated themselves based on the data. And ONE continues to grow, with a landmark, multi-year, deal with Prime Video. On May 5, they will continue to bring the masses an outstanding event.
“If you’re a fan and don’t know anything, go see how many followers ONE has. We have 70 million social media followers globally, when you include China. And I think the UFC has 100 million-plus. It’s very clear there’s two big giants, one in the east and one in the west,” said Sityodtong.
ONE Fight Night 10 is loaded with talent from top to bottom, and it will showcase MMA, Muay Thai, and submission grappling over 11 exciting bouts. The event is completely free for North American Amazon Prime members. The first two bonus bouts begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT across all ONE platforms before the main card kicks off at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Prime Video.