Last September, an organization named ONE FC ran a show in Singapore to a great deal of positive press. They put on a solid show, however not much has been heard from the organization since then. Now there is starting to be some fallout, and ONE FC has announced a series of three shows on their website, with the first one scheduled for February of 2012. Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and back to Singapore are to be the sites for the upcoming series of events.
First of all, kudos to the show and owner Victor Cui in general. It had good fights, it had very nice production value and it was run with a high level of professionalism. The show was said to have a wealth of sponsors and to be very well funded. This may be the case, but there is strong word from insiders that the show was not able to turn a profit, and that a considerable sum of money was lost. Despite this, planning three shows after a monetary loss is a display of resolve that we have not seen from many promoters.
The first hint at losses is a rumored strategic rethinking when it comes to fighter procurement. On the last show, the most expensive bout was Yoshiyuki Yoshida and Phil Baroni – word is that this was a bout with $25,000.00 in total purses. There were $20,000.00 in bonuses given away, and a host of other fights. Plus travel, meals etc. for at least five days for fighters, entourage and the production crew. Singapore is not cheap.
The word is out there that the next three shows will concentrate more on fighters from Southeast Asia, including Thailand and the Phillipines. There may be a superfight or two, but concentrating on fighters from the area will limit opportunities to see bigger, known names. I think I’m OK with that, however.
You can say that this is for the purposes of developing fighters, and that is a good philosophy. But the number one reason to pull in new, local and unknown talent is to save money. The fighters from those countries will certainly ask for less money than Japanese and American fighters. Travel costs will be much less.
As long as Cui sticks with it, these are all growing pains that ONE FC must endure. I hope he does well on the next three shows. We will see when the lineups are announced if the rumored strategic change is true or not.
If it is, the move will also have a drastic effect on the sportsbooks and on the bettor at large. Yoshida versus Baroni is a fight of known quantities, a fight certainly some action came in on. But are you really going to bet on one of two guys, both 0-0, one from the Philippines and one from Thailand? I don’t even know how you can make a line on that, if that is all the info you have. So I predict limited action at the sportsbooks for these upcoming show. Some may drop the event completely from the radar until some name recognition starts to develop among the roster.
The development of ONE FC has begun. Let’s see where this takes them.