By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
TOKYO — October 13, 2019 marks an important date in ONE Championship’s growing history as it holds its biggest live event to date — “ONE: Century.”
Century is the 100th show of Asia’s largest sports media property since opening shop in 2011 and will feature a never-been-done-before offering of two full shows in one day.
It will happen at the famed Ryogoku Kokugikan in Sumida City and has 22 matchups, split into two equally exciting shows of 11 fights each.
For ONE Championship officials, the much-anticipated event is a testament to how far it has come as an organization and sets the direction it is heading to moving forward.
“This is a historic moment, not only for Japan, but for the entire world of martial arts. I named this event, ONE: CENTURY, to signify the greatest martial arts event in the last 100 years. Twenty-eight world champions from across various martial arts, seven world title bouts, two full-scale events — it has never been done before in history,” said ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong at the press conference for Century on Thursday at the Park Hyatt Hotel here.
Launched in July 2011, ONE, known then as ONE Fighting Championship, has steadily grown to become a major player in sports not only in this side of the world but in the entire globe with broadcast reach now spreading to 140 countries and to potentially 2.6 billion viewers.
As a martial arts organization it has also established itself as a true home to such, going beyond mixed martial arts and featuring as well bouts across the full spectrum of martial arts such as muay thai, kickboxing, karate, silat, sanda, lethwei, taekwondo, submission grappling, and more.
Mr. Sityodtong said adding to their pride as an organization is the fact that they were able to achieve such feats by adhering to the mission and vision they had right from the very start of bringing to the fore what true martial arts is, which is anchored on deep-rooted Asian values of integrity, humility, honor, respect, courage, discipline and compassion.
And along the way ONE Championship has attracted like-minded organizations which have partnered with it in bringing its thrust forward.
Among these organizations are Disney, Marvel, LG, Sony, Facebook, Haier, Kawasaki, L’Oreal, Casio, Bayer, Shiseido, Grab and Singtel.
Recently, ONE expanded its makeup with the establishment of an esports component in the organization, recognizing a natural crossover between martial arts and gaming fans in Asia.
In the lead-up to ONE: Century, the organization held various esports activities and tournaments which were received well by esports athletes and fans alike.
Hitting a century of shows and taking into consideration all the gains they had in the last eight years, Mr. Sityodtong said ONE Championship is more determined to push ahead and take martial arts recognition to an even higher level.
“My fellow brothers and sisters are here, the greatest martial artists on the planet, but above all, truly amazing human beings. The world will witness greatness. Most importantly, the world will witness the unleashing of real-life superheroes who ignite the world with hope, strength, dreams, and inspiration. Let us all embrace the true spirit, the warrior spirit of martial arts. Let’s show the world the power of martial arts,” the ONE official said.