Pride never dies, except maybe if you're ONE Championship.
The organization was one of the few left where an opponent could straight up Cristiano Ronaldo another fighter's head. Now, soccer kicks are on the endangered species list of MMA, and ONE is making them even more scarce.
However, it may not be for the reason that you think.
“There’s bad publicity. If we really want to go mainstream, people will have to understand that. We have to make certain steps,” company chairman Chatri Sityodtong said to media as reported by Rappler.
It turns out ONE isn't worried about heads popping like zits, but rather the perception of a shin crashing against the head of a downed opponent. The Singapore MMA promotion has been growing in strength—and money—in the passing years, and now boasts tens of millions of dollars of investments from Temasek Holdings.
“If you look at studies that were done on soccer kicks, it’s the same as a normal head kick because you cannot generate more pivotal force,” Sityodtong added. “It’s more of a perception thing. No one has been injured and no one has been in any serious situation from a soccer kick.”
In the beginning, Sityodtong has said he wanted ONE to be Asia's first "multibillion-dollar sports media property". It looks like they're well on their way to accomplish that, and doing everything the can to stay there.
Kiss the soccer kick goodbye below, and let us know your opinion on them in the comments below.