ByJim Edwards, writer at
MMA story chaser from the UK
Jim Edwards

is the most coveted fighter in MMA .... right?

Not according to Chairman Chatri Sityodtong, he isn’t. Speaking to CNN earlier today, Sityodtong said that whatever the price tag, ONE Championship wouldn't be interested in signing the Irishman if he was a free agent.

"If Conor McGregor was a free agent, ONE Championship would not try to sign him," Sityodtong said. “We don't want somebody to swear at people, throw water bottles, disrespect people, call out people's wives and children, and -- in my opinion -- other distasteful stuff that is not representative of true martial arts.”

Sityodtong explained that ONE Championship was more suited to a softer type of character, and that two of his current champions were perfect examples of what he wanted fighters in ONE Championship to represent.

“We have heroes like Angela Lee, who is pound-for-pound one of the best female world champions on the planet,” Sityodtong said. “But yet, she is humble, she is kind, she's sweet. You have Eduard Folayang, who came from extreme poverty, conquered so many impossible odds. He's so humble, gentle and kind. These are the heroes I want to support in ONE Championship."

Having taken aim at McGregor, Sityodtong then took a shot at the UFC and said that they didn’t embody to the true meaning of martial arts.

"We understand the DNA of the Asian audience," Sityodtong said. “We connect deeply; we connect deeply culturally, historically, traditionally by showcasing the beauty of true martial arts, as opposed to glorifying the fight. So I think UFC is a fight, UFC is a sport. ONE Championship is martial arts.”

The two promotions will have a mini head-to-head of sorts next month when both hold events in Singapore just three weeks apart from one another.

ONE: Dynasty of Heroes will go down on May 26 and will feature three of ONE’s biggest stars, Angela Lee, Ben Askren and Shinya Aoki.

Three weeks later, the UFC will be in Singapore for UFC Fight Night 111 where Holly Holm will take on Bethe Correia in the main event. The likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Andrei Arlovski and Dong Hyun Kim are also set to feature.

ONE Championship’s next event is tomorrow. ONE: Kings of Destiny goes down at the Mall of Asia in Manila and features a main event of ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang defending his title against Ev Ting.


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