Sage Northcutt (ONE Championship)

ONE Championship Releases Statement on Sage Northcutt Situation

ONE Championship has released a statement in response to Sage Northcutt’s recent social media post regarding his withdrawal from ONE 165.

Northcutt was slated to face Japanese legend Shinya Aoki but exited on fight day over the situation. In his place, John Lineker stepped up but lost via submission.

Although Northcutt’s post delivered a stern recounting of events, it was an apparent misunderstanding between the two sides, with ONE offering empathy for the situation as they look to mend the relationship with the American star.


The statement, given to South China Morning Post, is as follows:

“ONE Championship empathizes with Sage Northcutt in regards to the situation he faced at ONE 165, where two of his coaches were not allowed to corner him, leading to his withdrawal from the event.

Due to a change in external guidance from a third-party visa consultancy on Certificate of Eligibility (COE) requirements for all cornermen at ONE 165, there were work visa processing issues leading up to the event, which unfortunately impacted multiple athletes.

The ONE team communicated the ongoing issues to our athletes and their management, but there was clearly a misunderstanding with the options presented to Sage and his team.

Despite his recent comments, ONE values Sage’s partnership on a personal and professional level, and we hope that we can resolve this situation amicably.

We also hope our athletes understand that we were acting in their best interest in being 100% compliant with local laws, and that this was an isolated incident given our track record of successfully flying in athletes and their cornermen for hundreds of global events.”

Northcutt returned triumphantly to the company in 2023 in Denver, Colo., at ONE Fight Night 10 with a quick submission win. After his successful return, ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong called Northcutt’s performance his proudest moment of the historic U.S. debut.

Although the two sides appear to have suffered some miscommunication surrounding his ONE 166 departure, an olive branch has been extended as ONE seeks to repair the situation behind closed doors.