STATEMENT BY ONE VP Rich Franklin
I was looking forward to the Brandon Vera v. Chi Lewis Parry fight this week as much as every other fan. It is unfortunate to see this scenario unravel, and while I have seen many situations like this during my career, it is still baffling to me. Chi believes the organization has it out for him. If you think about this logically, ONE spent a tremendous amount of money marketing a fight between Brandon and Chi…only to remove Chi at the last minute??? This makes no sense.
Since Chi is attacking ONE’s integrity, I decided to personally dig into this myself.
Chi wrote on his social media that ONE had not booked his flight to Manila for the press conference in October or for the fight in Manila. I am not sure which he is referring to when he replied “NOPE”, ONE has a copy of the paperwork and official e-ticket booked for the press conference by our PR team provided as well as the fight week ticket.
In Chi’s post, he claimed that a company representative told him not to board the plane for Manila this week. Unfortunately, it is another falsehood told by Chi or his management. Again, it makes zero sense for ONE to spend significant sums of money on marketing a fight only to pull it.
I have also spoken with our athlete services department about Chi’s medical and drug tests. There’s a detailed email timeline of the correspondence with Chi’s management as part of ONE’s records and recorded documentation of correspondence that began November 26th, with Chi’s manager ultimately giving assurance on December 2nd that Chi would complete testing before arriving in Manila…along with confirming his shorts color and entrance song. Last week, Our VP of Competition, Matt Hume, was concerned enough about the situation that he asked Paul Cheng to come to Manila to do media and act as a last minute replacement in the event Chi did not submit medicals. As it turns out, Matt Hume’s decision to have a backup plan for our main event was the correct one.
Finally I spoke to GAB (Games And Amusements Board), the governing body in the Philippines, in the event Chi sent his testing directly to them, and they had not received the proper testing either. It is clear that Chi did not provide the items he claims he has, and I welcome him to show us proof rather than accusations.
On December 7th, our Athlete Services reached out to Chi’s manager via text at the time Chi should have been at the airport boarding for Manila…enquiring of Chi’s whereabouts. No reply was given.
No trash talk…just facts. We were taken by surprise that Chi did not board his flight, as Matt Hume and I were looking forward to meeting him upon his arrival.
Separately, in an interview with Rappler, ONE Championship CEO Victor Cui admitted that Cheng was flown in as a backup & responds to Parry’s plan to take legal action.
“Matt Hume (ONE matchmaker) and I realized from out past experiences when we have a fight change, particularly a title fight, as we agreed and set a process that if we have a title fight or a high-profile event, we should have a contender and a back-up fighter who is ready to go. So at least, the fans can get the fight they want.”
“I don’t know what he (Parry) wants to do. Maybe he wants to sue the airline for not rolling out the red carpet for him,” ~ Victor Cui
Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship
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.
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.
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.
Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship
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
Bashir Ahmad embraces new role in ONE Championship
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.
“Essentially, I 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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