Chatri Sityodtong to Ariel Helwani: UFC & ONE Championship are the two global leaders in martial arts

Chatri Sityodtong (left) and Dana White (right)
Chatri Sityodtong (left) and Dana White (right)

ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong appeared live and in-person for the first time on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour. He told the prominent sports journalist that he believes there are only two global leaders in the world of martial arts -- UFC and ONE Championship.

He said:

“If you look at the largest players in the combat sports industry, pure facts and figures, forget about marketing. Pure facts and figures -- the Nielsen industry report, if you’re a fan or if you don’t know anything, go see how many followers ONE has. We have 70 million social media followers, globally… and I think UFC has 100-plus million. It’s very clear there are two big giants, one in the East and one in the West.”

Watch the interview below:


After Endeavor -- the UFC's parent company -- acquired WWE recently, Dana White's promotion was valued at $12.1 billion. It's an impressive feat that took the UFC 30 years to achieve since its inception in 1993.

However, ONE Championship is gaining ground, carrying a reported valuation of $1.4 billion a little over a decade after launching.

A major reason for this is investor confidence. The UFC is backed by financial institutions Silverlake, KKR, Tencent, MSD, and Third Point, while ONE has the support of Sequoia, Guggenheim, QIA, Temasek, ICONIQ, Vulcan, and Mission.

The UFC and ONE clearly have the lion’s share of blue-chip investor support among all competitive promotions. Sityodtong added:

“There are only two companies in combat sports globally that have a billion-dollar-plus valuation, based on investors saying ‘Hey, we’ve looked at all your numbers, all your data. We want to invest.’ It is what it is. I would rather look at hard facts and figures, verifiable. And anyone can do this.”

ONE Championship's social media game is at par with the UFC

On the social media front, the UFC currently has a social media following of 120 million followers, while ONE is a close second with a growing audience of 57 million followers — excluding its Chinese platforms, which brings its following to 70 million, per ONE’s recent LinkedIn post.

However, according to Sityodtong, fans only need to look at the actual numbers for themselves to see proof. He said:

“I think you should take a look at hard facts and numbers… Then, if you are a casual fan, just go to all the social media pages. Look at the number of followers. Look at the engagement rates. Look at the organic video views.”

ONE Championship has enjoyed a major surge in viewership and engagement in recent years. Due to its success across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, ONE has generated more organic video views over the past 12 months, with 6,135 (m) compared to the UFC's 4,643 (m).

ONE Championship has generated more organic video views than the UFC
ONE Championship has generated more organic video views than the UFC

Other combat sports promotions yielded lower numbers, with Glory Kickboxing netting 1,488 organic views compared to the PFL's 295, Bellator's 241, Rizin's 225, and KSW's 215.

Chatri Sityodtong has also led his promotion to a larger global cumulative TV reach. He added:

“According to Nielsen, our TV reach, unique reach, meaning viewers who watch ONE Championship, is 400+ million. UFC’s was 259 million. These are global numbers. And Bellator was at 11 million. Those are in the combat sports [industry]. Now, they had all the sports properties lined up together.”

Based on Nielsen's 2022 review, Bellator drew 11 million viewers, while the PFL managed less than 11 million. Rizin and Glory both drew less than 5 million viewers, while KSW's viewers are unknown.

In what may come as a surprise to some fans, ONE broadcasts to even more countries than the UFC — 170 to 165.

ONE Championship will make its highly anticipated U.S. on-ground debut with ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III on Prime Video in less than two weeks’ time. The historic sold-out event will air live from the 1stBank Center in Colorado on May 5 and will be available to fans in North America with an active Amazon subscription.

Sityodtong expects the event, which features a mix of MMA, Muay Thai, and submission grappling, to be well-received by American fans. With more events planned in the pipeline, ONE Championship could grow even more exponentially in the coming years, further solidifying its position among all martial arts promotions globally.

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