ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong Is Open To Co-Promote With UFC
This year, we’ve seen Rizin FF and Bellator collaborate on several fight cards. Most recently at Bellator 222, where Rizin’s Kyoji Horiguchi defeated Bellator’s Darrion Caldwell, to win the Bellator bantamweight title, and Bellator’s Lindsey VanZandt beat Rizin’s Rena Kubota. Horiguchi also beat Caldwell at Rizin 14, to defend his Rizin bantamweight title.
Rizin president Nobuyuki Sakakibara, has had a working relationship with the Bellator president Scott Coker, for many years. And if it was down to Sakakibara, he would also be collaborating with their fellow Asian promotion, ONE Championship.
However, it doesn’t look like there will be any collaboration between Rizin and ONE Championship any time soon. Speaking to MMA Junkie, ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong said that he would only be interested in a co-promotion with the UFC.
“I think the only organization I’d be interested to co-promote with would be UFC vs ONE Championship, world champions vs world champions.”
“UFC is number one in the west and ONE Championship is number one in the east, so it’s kind of a best of the east, best of the west colliding. I think that makes a great storyline for the whole world to want to watch and get excited about.”
Like Sakakibara though, Sityondtong is also likely to be disappointed, as UFC president Dana White has often ruled out any collaboration with any other promotions.
Although, with the grand opening of the UFC Apex in Las Vegas yesterday and White’s plans to expand outside of MMA, perhaps a collaboration with ONE Championship and their highly successful ONE Super Series, is a possibility in the future.
ONE Championship and UFC have done business together in the past. At the end of 2018, the promotions struck a historic deal, which saw former ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren, come out of retirement to join the UFC, and arguable the greatest of all time, Demetrious Johnson go the other way, moving from the UFC to ONE.
Sityodtong is not alone in wanting some type of collaboration with the UFC. Fresh off of his win over Caldwell last weekend at Madison Square Garden, Horiguchi has said that he wants to fight UFC flyweight and bantamweight champion, Henry Cejudo.
“Me. Me Better!” Horiguchi said, when asked about Cejudo by ESPN “I want to fight Henry Cejudo. Yeah. Let’s go fight.”
Whether the UFC take up any of these offers to collaborate, we will have to wait and see. But one thing is for sure, it’s exciting times for fight fans right now.