One Championship returning to competition July 31 in Bangkok

One Championship will return to major competition with a show in Bangkok on July 31.

The prominent Asia-based mixed martial arts promotion confirmed its plan Monday.

One Championship hasn’t held an event featuring its top athletes since late February after the coronavirus pandemic shut down many public gatherings in the promotion’s native Singapore and across Asia. One held two second-tier events in Shanghai earlier this month featuring kickboxing fights and minor MMA bouts.

One also laid off at least 20% of its workforce earlier this month, and it raised eyebrows around the sports world by couching the announcement in a news release trumpeting an addition of $70 million in outside investment to the promotion’s coffers.

One has confirmed two muay thai championship fights and a kickboxing match for its return show, which will be held without fans in Bangkok. One didn’t immediately announce any MMA bouts, but plans to do so shortly.

One is the latest promotion to join the gradual return to competition for combat sports, which face less daunting personal safety obstacles than most team sports due to the relatively small number of essential people involved in a fight. Those advantages are counterbalanced by the diffuse base of its competitors _ particularly in the One promotion, which spans Asia and includes several prominent fighters from around the world.

The UFC took only eight weeks off before returning May 9 with a string of eight consecutive events, and the promotion is headed to Abu Dhabi next week for four shows. Invicta will return Thursday with a show in Kansas, while Combate Americas will hold three shows in a closed TV studio in Miami starting Aug. 28. The Bellator promotion still hasn’t announced a date for its return to competition.

CEO Chatri Sityodtong told the AP last week that he

Read More

F1 drivers to discuss whether to take a knee at season opener

LONDON — Formula One drivers will discuss taking a knee at the opening race of the delayed season in Austria on Sunday.

“Some of the drivers have already been speaking,” McLaren driver Lando Norris said. “If we are going to do it, we should all do it as a grid. It will be discussed following the drivers’ briefing with the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association on Friday.”

The Black Lives Matter movement has been supported by soccer players in Germany, Italy and England taking a knee before and during games.

“We will do whatever we can to show that we care and respect everyone,” Norris said. “We will do what is right when the time comes.”

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has been vocal about Black Lives Matter and F1’s diversity issues.

Like Hamilton, Norris will carry the “End Racism” message on his car this season. The 20-year old driver recently encouraged his social media following to sign petitions following Hamilton’s criticism of his peers for staying silent on the matter.

“I want to do better than any other driver, but everyone should be given the same opportunity and treated the same,” Norris said. “It is not fair that people get treated differently because of their race.

“This sport reaches millions of people and the more we can do as drivers, teams, and as a community in Formula One, the bigger impact we can have.”

Source link Read More

Grass is still green for Wimbledon’s head groundsman amid tournament cancellation

Neil Stubley should have been decked out in his white shirt and tie this week, monitoring the pristine 38 grass courts across the 42-acre site at Wimbledon.

However, the championships, which were due to start on Monday at the All-England Club, were cancelled for the first time since the Second World War due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The head groundsman, who has been working in the leafy London suburb since 1995, has seen “blood, sweat and tears” spent in preparing the prestigious grand slam come to nothing.

Life goes on though and with members using a reduced capacity of courts that are open, Stubley said it was surreal to walk around and see his courts not humming with the same action.

“It’s the fact that a lot of blood, sweat and tears has gone in to produce the grass courts and we don’t get to showcase them,” he said.

“But that disappointment is across the club. We are all very proud of the work we do and how well-received it is across the world.”

“It is an odd time and the best way to really describe it is you get a strange quiet feeling. It feels a little post-Championship now and there isn’t a great deal happening.”

“I would equate it to having been to a concert. You get that ringing in your ears for a couple of days.”

The 51-year-old said he and his 17 staff plus three temporary workers, reduced from the usual nine, were getting on with the job despite the cancellation.

It is a year-round job nevertheless. Renovation begins in August and September when courts will start to be taken out of play, renovated and then put to bed.

From the start of April, the grass is then taken down a millimetre per week from its

Read More