ONE CEO Sityodtong wants crossover dream match between Xiong and Zhang

MANILA, Philippines—In the most basic of aspects, ONE Championship and the UFC are two competing mixed martial arts promotions but there was one time when the two actually pulled off an unprecedented transaction.

Back in 2018, the two promotions “swapped” fighters with former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson ex-ONE welterweight titleholder exchanging places.

It’s been more than a year since and the two promotions have yet to construct another deal but that doesn’t mean fictional dream matches are off the table.

ONE founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtonf said in a fan interaction that he wants a dream match between strawweight champions Xiong Jingnan and Zhang Weili.

“For women’s mixed martial arts, I would love to see Jingnan Xiong vs Weili Zhang. I think Jingnan is the one to beat Weili Zhang,” said Sityodtong.

Both Zhang and Xiong have figured in iconic matches in the past.

Most recently, Zhang defended her UFC title against Jianna Jedrzejczyk in an absolute barnburner while Xion exchanged wins against ONE atomweight champion Angela Lee in a couple of high-octane matches.

Zhang boasts the more impressive record of 21-1 with her lone loss coming in her debut while Xiong is at 14-2 and carried a nine-fight winning streak before losing to Lee via submission in her last bout.

Incidentally, Sityodtong also mentioned Lee as someone who can tangle in the proverbial dream matches.

“I think Angela Lee VS any Atomweight in the world. Angela Lee is incredible. I’ve seen her in training. I’ve seen her go into a bout with pneumonia with doctor’s advice not to compete and I’ve tried my best to stop the fight,” said Sityodtong.

“Angela Lee’s an absolute warrior and she’s just a genius on the ground.”

Sityodtong also mentioned Stamp Fairtex as another woman who can fight Zhang.

Fairtex, 22, once

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Chelsea partner with domestic abuse charity

Chelsea’s Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal during the UEFA Champion’s League Group H football match between Chelsea and Lille at Stamford Bridge in London on December 10, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Chelsea have partnered with domestic abuse charity Refuge to raise awareness and funds in support of women and children who suffer from the issue during the coronavirus lockdown.

Experts have warned that the virus outbreak will lead to a “domestic abuse pandemic”.

Self-isolation has the potential to aggravate pre-existing abusive behaviours by perpetrators and can make it more challenging for women to report and seek support.

Players from Chelsea’s men’s and women’s teams have taken part in a digital campaign, with the Premier League club promising to match all donations received in the next six-week period.

“Domestic violence is such a serious issue in society and we must double our efforts to look after those in danger during this ongoing pandemic,” Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta said.

“I am so proud of my club for supporting Refuge in their vital work protecting vulnerable women and children.”

Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, added: “This is a life and death issue. Now, more than ever, Refuge needs to reach women and their children who are in need of its services.

“Thanks to Chelsea FC and its supporters we hope to raise much needed funds and reach many more women experiencing abuse. Together we can save and change lives.”


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NBA eyes staging entire playoffs in Las Vegas: report

The Larry O’Brien Trophy stands at center court during a ceremony to celebrate the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 NBA basketball championship, before the team’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Toronto on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

NBA officials are studying the possibility of staging the entire playoffs in Las Vegas but nothing is close to being settled, Sports Illustrated reported Thursday.

According to a story on the magazine website, unnamed sources said the league is exploring what it would take to stage games and house players in Vegas hotels and that while nothing is near being completed, there is also nothing off the table.

The report also cited several league and club sources saying there is no chance of staging a typical NBA playoffs involving travel between cities due to different impacts of the deadly disease in different areas as well as potentialy travel issues.

Quarantines for teams in one location and playing in an empty arena is seen as the only answer, with Las Vegas being the only city the league is seriously considering, an NBA source told Sports Illustrated.

A CNBC report last week said the NBA has considered many scenarios but was not near finalizing any one-site plan, including a tournament idea that would send 16 teams in a reduced best-of-five first round, then two knockout stages to decide which teams would play a best-of-seven NBA Finals.

The NBA stages Summer League events annually in Las Vegas and so has relationships in place with hotels and arenas that could accomodate such a playoff.

But staging such an event would require thousands of players and team staffers to journey to Las Vegas, support staff at arenas and hotels to work, broadcasters to provide workers to telecast the games.

That would also require

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