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This day in ONE Championship history: ONE on TNT I took place

On this day in 2021, ONE on TNT I aired on US television marking the first time that ONE Championship worked with a major American network. [Photo ONE Championship]
On this day in 2021, ONE on TNT I aired on US television marking the first time that ONE Championship worked with a major American network. [Photo ONE Championship]
Vince Richards

ONE on TNT I was the start of arguably the busiest month for ONE Championship. With this event on April 7, 2021, the promotion absolutely delivered.

The first of four TNT cards was the first time the Asian sports giant worked with a major American broadcaster. This type of event merited fireworks and ONE on TNT I was more than an explosion.

American audiences were treated to a historic stunner and the meteoric rise of a charismatic striker.

In the main event, Adriano Moraes shocked the world when he knocked out Demetrious Johnson, considered by many to be the greatest MMA fighter of all time, to retain the ONE flyweight world title.

In what was a shocking turn for American fans, Moraes connected with a grounded knee strike straight to the face of Johnson, immediately knocking out the MMA legend 2:24 into the second round. The move is mostly illegal in western promotions, but is perfectly legal in ONE.

Moraes’ win, however, was largely second to Rodtang Jitmuangnon’s striking masterpiece at the event. The Thai superstar was already a big name in the Asian market, but it was at ONE on TNT I that Rodtang’s fearless style captivated US audiences.

Rodtang pummeled Danial Williams and connected with every conceivable strike during their Muay Thai bout.

ONE on TNT I not only made sure that the Asian promotion was a beast to be reckoned with, it also put a spotlight on the explosive art of Muay Thai.


ONE on TNT I was just the start of ONE Championship’s global reach

ONE Championship has always maintained a strong hold on the Asian market. The promotion regularly holds shows across Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Macau, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and China.

This type of continental notoriety also makes ONE Championship a valuable commodity in the world of network streaming.

The promotion also recently worked with Netflix on The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition. The reality show aired in 2021, with ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong serving as host and Niharika Singh as his advisor.

This year, though, the promotion will use the momentum it got from its first US broadcast card and, most recently, ONE X, to launch another North American television deal.

ONE Championship’s next venture into the American market will be announced soon, according to Sityodtong.


Edited by Harvey Leonard

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