ONE Championship has announced the promotion’s upcoming schedule for 2016. The tentative scheduled features 14 events in nine different countries across Asia.
The promotion will bring the circular cage to Thailand for the first time. Mixed martial arts was banned by the Thai government in 2012 due to fears of MMA taking away from the national sport of Muay Thai. Muay Thai has been a national tradition for over a hundred years, taking hold as one of the nation’s most popular sports in the early 1950s. ONE Championship will be the largest strictly MMA promotion to enter Thailand. Smaller promotions like Full Metal Dojo and the now-defunct DARE promotion have held MMA events in the country in the past.
The promotion will debut in Taipei, Taiwan and Hong Kong, China. ONE Championship is scheduled to hold an event in Hong Kong on July 1. The promotion makes the trip to Taiwan for the first time on Aug. 5. ONE Championship will return to popular countries Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines twice in 2016.
The ONE Championship schedule begins on Jan. 23 in Changsa, China. The first event will be the first of two events already scheduled, with 10 more events yet to be announced for the largest country in Asia. ONE Championship signed a two-year deal featuring 26 planned events with Chinese media company Wujie in November. The expansion into the Chinese market will be an exciting venture for the promotion, as no foreign promoters have had sustained success competing in one of the fastest-growing MMA marketplaces.
ONE Championship CEO Victor Cui talked about what was in store for the promotion in the future.
“As we wrap up 2015, I’m very pleased that it has been a great year for ONE Championship in terms of growth as we continue to expand at an incredibly rapid pace. We look forward to bringing our signature brand of world-class MMA action into more cities in Asia come 2016,” said Cui in a ONE Championship press release. “With our success in Asia and the Middle East, we are thrilled to announce that we will be entering three new markets next year, namely Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong. These are amazing cities with a massive following of martial arts fans and next year, these fans will get to experience ONE Championship’s superlative MMA events live!”
The full list of scheduled events is as follows:
|Jan. 23||Changsa Stadium in Changsa, China|
|Jan. 29||Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpura, Malaysia|
|Feb. 20||Istora Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia|
|Mar. 18||Thuwanna Indoor Stadium, Yangon, Myanmar|
|Apr. 15||Mall of Asia Arena, Manila, Philippines|
|May 6||Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore|
|May 27||Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand|
|June 17||Pho Phu Stadium in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam|
|July 1||Asia-World Expo, Hong Kong, China|
|Aug. 5||NTU Sports Centre in Taipei, Taiwan|
|Sep. 2||Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|Oct. 22||Istora Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia|
|Nov. 11||Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore|
|Dec. 2||Mall of Asia Arena, Manila, Philippines|