How A $100 Million Breakfast Helped Turn ONE Championship Into Asia's Biggest Fight Promotion

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4 min read
fairly easy
ONE Championship founder Chatri Sityodtong was about to quit until a fateful breakfast in Singapore changed everything.
Chatri Sityodtong, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of One Championship, poses for a ... [+] photograph during The One: Kings & Conquerors event at the Venetian Macao in Macau, on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. Sityodtong aims to build the One Championship in Asia by adhering to the values that made the continent of 4.4 billion people the home of some of the best-known martial-arts stars like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. While cricket is huge in South Asia, soccer is the top sport in Southeast Asia, and baseball is popular in Japan, Sityodtong says martial arts is the pastime that unites the continent. Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg © 2017 Bloomberg Finance LP

One Championship is Asia's first and largest global sports media property, backed by Sequoia Capital, one of the most successful venture capital firms in history.

Broadcast in 150 countries, according to Nielson, the promotion is among the world's top 10 sports media properties based on views and engagement.

But its founder, Chatri Sityodtong, almost called it quits three years into the promotion. He burnt through millions of dollars, but was getting nowhere.

Asian broadcasters, brands, and governments all scoffed at the idea.

"We don't need a new sports property," Chatri recalls them saying.

He persevered. Now it's valued at $1 billion.

The Philippines' Eduard Folayang celebrates his win over Singapore's Amir Khan following heir ... [+] Lightweight ONE Championship mixed Martial Arts bout at the Mall of Asia Arena in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. Folayang won…
Brian Roberts
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