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Chi Lewis-Parry: Victor Cui told me in his words, ‘we cannot have [Vera] lose’

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In the midst of the drama around the cancellation of Brandon Vera vs Chi Lewis-Parry bout for ONE Championship event in Manila this weekend, Parry explained in a greater detail on his side of the story in an interview with mmaplus.co.uk, including the rebuttal on the accusations on Cui’s facebook page.

“The accusations from Victor Cui is a blatant lie, all paperwork, blood results, urine tests, they’ve got all of that. They are making out that I failed to send it, but they have everything. If that’s the best lie that you can come up with to save the face of the promotion and save this title fight, then that’s embarrassing. The transparency of it, people can see straight through it. It’s a shame that such an MMA giant promotion is behaving this way.”

After the news broke that Lewis-Parry would not travel to Manilla, former UFC fighter Vera took to his Facebook page and posted a video attacking the Brit, calling him ‘a c*nt’.

“In a year and a half that I’ve been campaigning for this fight, Brandon Vera has not interacted with me but once, and that’s because I was in his face in San Diego at GLORY. Because I genuinely believe he has been worried for this fight, the minute it’s confirmed he will not have to face me, he’s got a big mouth all of a sudden. Now he wants to talk smack, and he’s doing a video and he’s using foul language.

However, most interestingly is Lewis-Parry’s claim on his conversation with Victor Cui in Singapore, where the ONE Championship CEO reportedly told him that the fight with Vera ‘will never happen’, and that Cui cannot afford Vera to lose.

“I went to Singapore just after GLORY 21, I returned from San Diego and I went straight out to Singapore like a week later. At the after-party [Warrior’s Quest] I’m sitting there with Victor Cui. I ask for the Brandon Vera fight and he flat out tells me the Brandon Vera fight will never happen because Brandon is a company man, they pay him a salary, and that’s good for them in the Philippines. So his words, ‘we cannot have him lose’.

“I said, you need to give me something, if you want to make Brandon the champion, let me fight at Super-Heavyweight.

“Then I came back, and said Brandon Vera was scared to fight me, then all of a sudden I get a call. I’m in bed in The States, at like 2am, and Matt Hume is telling me ‘how would you like to fight Brandon for the title?’ I was like that doesn’t make no sense, you guys just told me it weren’t going to happen. I backed them into a corner where they had to give me the fight, but their real intention was they were never going to have me fight.”

He then when further, taking a nudge at the Evolve MMA, who is owned by ONE Championship Chairman Chatri Sityodtong.

“They are not UFC and they are not Bellator, they are not World Series of Fighting, they are nothing in comparison. No one actually cares outside of Asia. If you’re not one of these EVOLVE affiliated fighter, you’re not going to get nothing.”

With the heavyweight seemingly ready to burn the bridges, Lewis-Parry vowed to help other fighters caught in similar situations, including by forming up a fighters union, which has been a subject of a lot of debate.

“I think because I have quite a prominent voice, I’m quite outspoken, then I need to utilise the attention that I’ve got right now to make a stand for a lot of the others fighters going through the same crap. Because there are a lot of fighters trapped in contracts with ONE, it’s not just me. I would like to align myself with former rival James McSweeney, he’s actually a gentlemen and I respect that he was going through the same thing.

“Anyway I can make a change, if there is anyone out there interested in teaming up with me and maybe starting a Union of something and changing the face of the game, then I’m all ears.”

[UPDATE]

In an interview with whoatv.com, Lewis-Parry claimed he was told that he will not fight last week.

“I knew something was up. The lack of solid answers from ONE was making me suspicious more and more each day. They almost speak in riddles to avoid actually giving accurate answers. I was called at the end of last week and told ‘You will no longer be required for the fight’. The exact same words used when I was chasing them up about the press conference.”

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Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship

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28 Years Old, Zhang Weili(16-1) from China has challenged Strawweight champion Angela Lee for her strap in One Championship according to a source close to the Chinese fighter. Zhang who is the champion and fighting for Chinese based promotion Kunlun FC is currently negotiating on a one fight deal to face Angela. According to the source, they would like to determine who is the best women fighter in Asia in a one-off match and would have no problems to fight under the One Championship banner.

Zhang Weili(Left) at Kunlun FC 12

Since her pro debut loss in 2013, Zhang has racked up 16 wins in 3 years with a total of 15 finishes. She is the number #6 ranked women strawweight in the World according to Fightmatrix.com, just behind Rose Namajunas who will be facing UFC champion and number #1 ranked strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title next month. Angela, on the other hand, is 9 rungs below Zhang at number 15.

Fightmatrix rankings as per 9/10/2017

While ONE was very eager to have a cross-promotion fight between Angela Lee and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to determine who has the better strawweight, they seem less eager to have a Kunlun FC champion on board for a one fight deal. The source states that ONE would need for Zhang to sign a 2-year exclusive contract first before discussing further for a fight with Angela.

If the source is accurate, ONE seems to be covering their bases this time and would not like for their champion to lose the belt to another promotion without securing Zhang on an exclusive contract. Kunlun, on the other hand, would also not want to lose their best fighter to another Asian promotion. Zhang would be a huge asset to ONE for their expansion in China but it would be tough for them to pry off the Chinese fighter as the source states that Zhang is being paid handsomely on Kunlun FC.

While things are looking bleak for a match between Angela Lee and Zhang Weili to happen in the ONE Championship cage, the fans will be keeping their fingers crossed and hope that they could witness a fight between two of the best women Strawweights in Asia.

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Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship

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After speculations on who Martin Nguyen’s next opponent when he signed a fight contract, ONE Championship have confirmed that Martin Nguyen is set to challenge Eduard Folayang’s lightweight title in Manila on ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on 10 November.

The fight is the latest in a series of cross-division fights announced after Shinya Aoki vs Ben Askren and Aung La NSang vs Alain Ngalani, but this will be the first time the reigning ONE Championship titleholders from two weight divisions will clash.

Nguyen’s coach, Fari Salievski, did tease on the idea of Nguyen fighting for the title in different weight divisions , but he teased on a bantamweight division since Martin was underweight for his featherweight title fight against Marat Gafurov.

Despite being on the lighter side of a featherweight division, the new champion decided to challenge the title against a fighter a weight class above him, and opens the possibility of the first fighter in ONE Championship to challenge the title in 3 weight divisions.

“I’m not out only to make a statement, but to go down in history as the best to ever compete under the ONE Championship banner” – Martin Nguyen

ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD will be held in Malls of Asia Arena in Manila on 10 November 2017

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Bashir Ahmad embraces new role in ONE Championship

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Bashir Ahmad is appointed as the Senior Manager of Industry Partnerships, the role made to develop and strengthen the relationships between ONE Championship and various MMA gyms and promotions.

“EssentiallyI see myself doing what I did in Pakistan and working to accelerate the growth of MMA in Asia with other players in the MMA scene,” Ahmad explained.

As the pioneer of Pakistani MMA, Bashir Ahmad has worked to promote MMA in Pakistan, most notably the Shaheen Gym project, a non-profit gym which serves to take at-risk youth off the street with the appeal and focus of MMA. With his new position in ONE, Ahmad believes he will be better positioned to develop MMA in Asia, particularly in his hometown Pakistan.

“I think it’s a win-win. I’ve learned about developing MMA in a really difficult market – Pakistan, and I bring that experience with me.”

“On the flip side, I get work with one of the world’s most professional martial arts brands and bring those lessons to my mission in Pakistan.”

4-3 on his professional MMA career, Ahmad has been fighting for ONE Championship since April 2013 and became the first ONE Championship athlete to make the transition from into the management role in the promotion. Despite this additional role, Ahmad is adamant that his new role in ONE Championship does not take him away from active competition.

“100% not retired. I can certainly train. If Martin can beat Gafurov while being a full-time mechanic, I can certainly train when I work in the MMA industry for a living. It’s about time management and training smart.”

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