Mixed martial arts (MMA) is one of the fastest growing sports in the entire world. Thanks to visionaries like ONE Championship Chairman Chatri Sityodtong, the MMA industry is experiencing a tremendous boost in global viewership and influence over the past few years, particularly in the Asian region where Sityodtong and the promotion is focused on developing.
Known as one of the pioneer's of MMA's resurgence in Asia, Sityodtong has recently come into prominence for his work in developing ONE Championship into Asia's largest sports media property and one of the top global MMA promotions.
Alongside ONE Women's Atomweight World Champion Angela "Unstoppable" Lee, Sityodtong is set to speak at the 2016 ABLA Gala Dinner which takes place 23 November in Jakarta, Indonesia. This year is particularly noteworthy because, it will be the first year the awards ceremony will be attended by an individual representing the sport of MMA.
MMA's inclusion in this round of the annual dinner is a milestone for the sport and is a testament to its rapid success over the past few years.
Established in 2001, the ABLA Gala Dinner was first put together by CNBC to salute and recognize remarkable business leaders, who through strength, innovation and foresight induce positive changes in an evolving corporate Asia. The business leaders are honored at the ceremony which will be broadcast globally to the Asia Pacific region, Europe and the United States.
Just a few years ago, MMA in Asia was a relatively niche sport with a strong following. There have always been local martial arts communities generating interest in the sport but nothing that really took it to the next level, until ONE Championship came along.
Because of Sityodtong's work with ONE, MMA in Asia is no longer running paces behind the pack -- it's revolutionizing sports entertainment in the region with fresh marketing initiatives and a robust digital platform.
In just a short span of five years since ONE was established in 2011, the company has become the largest sports media property in Asian history with an audience reach of one billion homes in over 118 countries worldwide through various international media broadcasts.
It is widely recognized as one of the largest MMA promotions in the world and its popularity has led to a handful of key partnerships with brands like Disney, Marvel, G-Shock, Under Armour, and UMG.
ONE's strategy in Asia is to build local, homegrown Asian martial arts heroes that resonates with local audiences. The result has been phenomenal as far as public reception goes, and has opened the company up to many financial partnership opportunities and sponsorships.