Mixing mixed martial arts with entertainment
ONE's CEO keen to stage fights so stadiums will also shake to lyrics of rock bands
Imagine watching Singapore-based fighters such as Angela Lee duke it out in a ONE Championship ring here, before international music stars such as Coldplay or Kanye West take over the stage to rock the stadium to its foundations.
That may well be a reality not too far into the future, according to ONE's chief executive Victor Cui in a recent interview, thanks to a partnership deal they signed with Universal Music Group last month.
As part of the collaboration, Universal artistes Bodyslam and Big Ass will entertain the crowd at the Kingdom of Champions event on May 27, the Asian mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation's first-ever event in Thailand.
The event is also a first for ONE in combining sports with international acts, but the concept is not a new one in the local context.
The union of sports and music has worked well in the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix since 2008, and most recently the HSBC Women's Champions golf tournament early this year.
While the Thai event will mark the first time ONE will adopt such a format, Cui is keen to expand this to other ONE events in the near future, and make it even bigger in scale.
He said: "The partnership with Universal is Asia wide, so we would be doing that (new format) in hopefully every single event that we've got.
"But what I want to deliver is sports entertainment to the fans at the highest level, that they've never seen before.
"That includes all forms of entertainment: not just music, not just sports, but also everything that makes great value to the fan."
He hinted that more collaborations are in the pipeline to make ONE events more diversified entertainment acts, which may pave the way for the organisation to host an event at the National Stadium.
While The New Paper first reported in 2013 ONE's interest in holding an event at the 55,000-seater crown jewel of the Sports Hub, Cui says he and his team are still coming up with a sure-fire concept.
But, he reckons the mega National Stadium event might take place in a year or 18 months.
He said: "What I know is that we have to take it up to a whole new level if we want to fill the National Stadium, and I want it to be an event that puts Singapore on the global map.
"We want to gauge it properly, and it helps me to learn from what other people are doing at the stadium because it's such a new venue.
"We only do things if we know that we are going to sell out... so we've got to make sure that it's a phenomenal value proposition for the fans, and it continues to showcase Singapore in the best possible light."