Muay Thai thrilled audiences over the last 12 months, and many stars were introduced to the world. But Sityodtong says ONE will bring MMA back to center stage next year.
There have been two big announcements already made in regards to the all-encompassing sport. Strawweight rivals Jarred Brooks and Joshua Pacio will tangle for the ONE Strawweight MMA World Title again in the first quarter of the year, and two-division king Christian Lee will make his long-awaited return to defend one of his belts in February.
This year, ONE offered up plenty of high-octane martial arts action to its global fanbase. However, the majority of events went down inside Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. That looks like it’s going to change too in 2024, per the ONE co-founder.
“You’re going to see MMA back in full force. We have our U.S. stadium shows, we have Qatar, Japan. In the Philippines we have one or two shows,” Sityodtong stated.
“The event calendar for next year is going to come out early next week. We will be announcing north of 60 events. When you add everything we are doing in the coming months, maybe 70, maybe more.
ONE’s highly anticipated debut in the Middle East, which was initially slated for late in 2023, also looks to be set for the first few months of the new year.
Circumstances in the region forced a delay, but Sityodtong outlined how exciting the event will be in his recent interview.
“It was a joint decision between ONE and all key stakeholders in Qatar to move the event date from December 1 to March 1,” he said.
“The good news for fans and athletes is that March 1 is 100 percent happening in Doha. Thank you to all of the stakeholders in Qatar for making it possible.
“I was just on a matchmaking team call and they’re discussing fights, it’s a slight change from the main events we were talking about for the original date, but it’s still going to be a crazy card, with some of the world’s best world championship martial artists on the card.”
Among other big events coming up quickly in 2024 will be the the world’s largest martial arts organization’s return to Japan. Sityodtong said that there would be two events in the country next year, and there is a press conference slated for Tokyo before 2023 to announce the first show.
Although not confirmed, the ONE boss seemed to tip his hand that kickboxing superstar and Japanese icon Takeru Segawa’s promotional debut would be on the marquee for that event.
“I don’t think Takeru is training so hard for no reason. When I look at his Instagram, I think ‘my goodness, this guy is a monster,’” Sityodtong mentioned.
“I would love to announce it right now but I’m under the shackles because of the big announcement that will be coming in the next couple of weeks.”
Even with all of those teases, with more than 60 events planned for 2024, there is more upcoming, and Sityodtong also expects the company to stage its first event in Europe in the coming year too.
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