Asia’s largest mixed martial arts promotion, ONE Championship, could resume putting on fights as early as next month, its CEO told AFP on Monday, as he warned of rocky operating conditions ahead after the coronavirus.
Chatri Sityodtong was speaking as the Singapore-based company slashed 20 percent of its workforce but also announced a $70 million funding boost from institutional investors.
He said ONE, which promotes cards across Asia in mixed martial arts, Muay Thai and kickboxing, was planning fight nights next month in China, Thailand and Singapore, depending on lockdown measures.
With coronavirus laying waste to professional sports worldwide, ONE’s last event was in Singapore in late February, and it had to cancel a series of events in April and May.
“Of course, this environment has made it trickier to operate but I’m always an optimist, and I believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Chatri said by phone from Singapore.
“We are looking at next month already. Nothing has been announced formally, but I can tell you that we are working very hard to come back,” he added.
Chatri did not disclose the size of ONE’s now-reduced global workforce, but the company’s LinkedIn profile put the headcount at between 201-500 employees.
He said the job cuts in “non-essential” areas were necessary to insulate the company against an expected economic downturn, despite the $70 million cash injection.
“Extraordinary times require very unusual prudence to protect the company and the longevity of many