Rodtang Jitmuangnon (L) (ONE Championship)

Can ONE Championship Bring Muay Thai and Grappling to the U.S. Mainstream?

ONE Championship is bringing its world-class martial arts action back to U.S. primetime on Aug. 26 with ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II.

A stacked lineup of matches will keep fans entertained from start to finish, and three scintillating Muay Thai contests are set to light up the global stage on the evening’s main card.

ONE’s ever-inclusive approach to combat sports means that Muay Thai regularly features at its shows. And that trend is, undoubtedly, set to continue across the events scheduled to broadcast live in U.S. primetime through its partnership with streaming giant Prime Video.


That begs the question of whether or not ONE can bring Muay Thai, as well as kickboxing and submission grappling, into the mainstream in North America. Any fan of the Singapore-based promotion would say that it certainly can, and here’s why.

The first piece in bringing any sport to the mainstream is excitement. The product has to captivate and energize the viewing audience. In this instance, ONE’s spectacular Muay Thai action does that.

There is a strong argument that Muay Thai in four-ounce gloves is the most exciting combat sport on the planet. ONE has delivered barnburner after barnburner over the years, and, with the American combat sports audience loving a good, old-fashioned brawl, Muay Thai seems like the perfect product to offer.

Danial Williams and Rodtang Jitmuangnon lit up the ONE Circle during the ONE on TNT series last year, and Liam Harrison had one of the greatest single-round bouts of any combat sport in history against Muangthai PK.Saenchai earlier this year. And those are just two of many matchups that have left crowds awestruck.

But plenty of exciting sports have failed to catch on domestically in North America. So, in addition to the sport itself, fans need to be able to identify with the stars. They have to make that connection. And that is where ONE can elevate the sport to unseen heights amongst its new audience.

Rodtang is a star. He bridges the language gap with his inherent charisma and fan-friendly fighting style. Fans gravitate toward him, and he will compete on the Aug. 26 card as part of the ONE flyweight Muay Thai world grand prix, which will get viewers hooked on the sport from the get-go.

Also appearing at ONE on Prime Video 1 will be one of Rodtang’s chief rivals, Jonathan Haggerty. A former titleholder in his own right, the British star brings the heat inside the Circle, and he has the added advantage of speaking the native tongue, meaning fans will connect with him instantly.

There are a whole host of other striking sensations with compelling stories likely to make an appearance at the ONE on Prime Video events. Joseph Lasiri, the newly minted strawweight Muay Thai king, has a wonderful comeback tale, and ONE featherweight kickboxing champion Superbon Singha Mawynn could be the pound-for-pound best striker around today. And, it is a similar story for submission grappling.

As ONE commits to developing the sport on a global scale, they have signed a plethora of stars who can educate the fans on the sport, be exciting when the bell rings, and connect with audiences on the mic.

Mikey Musumeci, Danielle Kelly, and the Ruotolo Brothers, Kade and Tye, are all young guns who can usher in a new era for submission grappling.

ONE is developing a global platform for stars across all combat sports, and the new Prime Video partnership will grow that platform. As ONE puts the shine on Muay Thai and submission grappling through Prime Video, those sports will have a chance to find a foothold with fans ready to embrace something they haven’t seen much of on North American airwaves.

Aug. 26 is just the beginning, as submission grappling and Muay Thai both get ready to add more flavor to the domestic scene. ONE’s platform, with Prime Video lifting it, has the momentum to bring these sports into the mainstream.