ONE Championship, like many MMA promotions all over the world, had their plans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, but Chatri Sityodtong has some big plans for 2021.
Sityodtong recently revealed during a conference call that the promotion plans on running multiple events in multiple countries next year, depending on how the coronavirus pandemic plays out.
“Everything is in the works, including the 2021 calendar which we’re working on right now," said Sityodtong in a media call. "Again, I’m sorry to sound so coy, but we have multiple things that are at play again -- multiple countries, multiple governments. We’ll see how things shake out. We hopefully will be able to announce the initial calendar for 2021 in the near future as we also plan out for the rest of the year. You know the reality is, every country in Asia right now is going through its own cycle. Some have had a significant drop in COVID cases, some have seen a spike, borders remain closed though across the entire continent for the most part. Countries are not allowing tourism to happen. Countries are not allowing international travel to happen. These are very tricky times, but I’m grateful for the support the Singapore government has given to ONE Championship, not only as a partner but really extending itself to helping."
"ONE Championship is the first international event, international production of any kind in Singapore whether it’s sports, music or entertainment, allowed to bring in foreigners. Obviously, the COVID protocol is very stringent and obviously the bubble between the airport, and the transport, and the hotel, and having security guards at every floor, having liaison officers with our athletes at all times," he continued. "These are the precautionary measures we are taking. Even in the stadium, we are going to have specified zones for different departments because we don’t want any more than 50 people gathered at any given point in time in the entire stadium. So, we’ll have tents set up out outside. We’ll have a very strict protocol for who can be cage-side. Unfortunately, I will not even be able to be cage-side for October 9th or October 30th because The Apprentice goes into production on October 26th. So, we actually have three separate bubbles going on for October 9th. nd I haven’t named the location yet for October 30th, but October 26th I’ll be going into production with The Apprentice, so I will be in a bubble."
The promotion has run events in Japan and other countries in the last few years, but an expansion into the United States has not come just yet. One thing that Sityodtong is sure of is that ONE Championship would have already held an event in the United States if the coronavirus pandemic didn’t happen.
“You know, if it weren't for the pandemic we would have already had our first event in the U.S. and it’s unfortunate, so we have to regroup," he shared. "You know the United States is going through its own strange times with the whole COVID situation, but also the whole political situation and the whole race relations. And so we will take our time. I don't want to commit to a date of when we will go to the United States, but it’s definitely on our plans. But then again I just don’t know, I don't have enough visibility. And again the US is in a very strange place right now as well."