Asian MMA organization ONE Championship announced on Mar. 14 at a press conference in Shanghai, China a partnership with Chinese media company Great Sports Media.
Under the deal, Great Sports Media (GSM)’s Shanghai Media Group Inc. will air all live ONE Championship events in conjunction with a weekly magazine show. The two companies will also collaborate “throughout the foreseeable future.” This is apparent by the addition of GSM talents Ni Tianqi and Zhuang Ningyu to the ONE broadcast team as Chinese language cageside commentators.
The company also took the opportunity to promote its upcoming ONE: Battle for the Heavens event, which takes place May 26 at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center. Strawweight champion Xiong Jing Nan (14-1-0) defends her title against Argentinian Laura Balin (10-2-0) in the main event.
“ONE Championship is proud to announce its partnership with Great Sports Media, to bring fans the unique action of world class martial arts to the Chinese audience,” said ONE Championship CEO international Victor Cui. “Martial arts is on the rise globally, and ONE Championship is the home of martial arts. Xiong Jing Nan is an incredible martial arts champion and we are extremely proud of her accomplishments. ONE: BATTLE FOR THE HEAVENS is going to be a spectacular evening that fans will not soon forget. We are excited to continue delivering an authentic martial arts experience to fans all throughout China.”
“Recently combat sports are growing very fast in popularity. We believe ONE Championship has a bright future in China, and we share the same culture and values,” added Weng Weimin, Great Sports Media general manager. “We hope though joint efforts to introduce this sport to a wider Chinese audience, makes them fall in love with ONE more.”
Jing Nan, 30, defeated Tiffany Teo to win the ONE belt in January. Atomweight champion Angela Lee has been vocal of her wishes to face Jing Nan to become the first female two-divison champion in the company’s history. Lee is rematching Mei Yamaguchi in May.
“Thanks to ONE Championship for giving me the great opportunity to perform at home in Shanghai, China in the one of biggest international cities of the world. It’s really honor for me as an athlete,” Jing Nan said. “Although I have experienced competing in China so many times, this time I feel so much more excited because I have the chance to showcase the beauty and strength of Chinese martial arts to the entire world on the ONE Championship platform. I will do my best to defend my title and bring honor and glory to my country.”
Balin will be making her ONE debut at ONE: Battle for the Heavens.
“I am very thankful to ONE Championship for giving me the opportunity to compete for the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship,” Balin said. “I am excited to join the organization and showcase my talents and skills on the global stage of martial arts. My opponent Xiong Jing Nan is a talented athlete, and it will be a difficult test for me. But I will bring my absolute best to the cage to bring the title back home to Argentina.”
ONE: Battle for the Heavens is scheduled for May 26. More bouts are expected to be announced.