ONE unfazed by UFC threat
We will just keep doing what we are doing, regardless of the competition.
That was the reply of ONE Championship CEO Victor Cui, in response to a question on whether the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) posed a threat to ONE in Asia.
"We didn't build this business worried about what our competitors are doing," said Cui in an international conference call to promote ONE's Warrior Kingdom event on March 11.
"When we started this company five years ago, our competitors have already been in Asia for longer.
"We focused on getting a world-class management team and talented fighters who resonate locally and globally."
He added that innovations, such as integrating music acts into live shows, give fans novel experiences to look forward to.
The UFC is well established in the Americas and Europe, but has failed to break into Asia.
The US-based mixed martial arts promotion did not have any fight events in Asia last year.
UFC had three events in Asia in 2015 and five in 2014, including one in Singapore.
In contrast, ONE has expanded from one event in 2011, to at least 17 this year.
However, following UFC's US$4 billion (S$5.68b) sale to WME-IMG last July, it is understood that the organisation is aiming to expand in Asia.
Already, it has launched its UFC Gym franchise in Vietnam last August.
Meanwhile, ONE atomweight world champion Angela Lee will defend her title for the first time, after winning the belt by defeating Japan's Mei Yamaguchi in Singapore last May.
While there was talk of the title fight being held at the Indoor Stadium in May, Lee will face Taiwan's Jenny Huang in Thailand on March 11.
Lee, 20, said: "The roar of the crowd can be a powerful thing but, inside the cage, it's just me and my opponent.
"I try my best to block everything else out because as a competitor, you want to be able to compete in any situation and in any arena.
"While I love the cheers from fans, my performance is reliant only on how well I've trained for the fight and how ready I am by the time I step inside the cage."