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MMA Pros React to new ONE Championship weigh in procedures

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In light of Yang Jian Bing’s death during his weight cut, ONE Championship announces their new weigh in procedures, which among others require fighters to be in their contracted weights within 3 weeks prior to their fight week, thus effectively eliminating room for weight cutting practices.

Given that weight cuts has been a common practice in professional MMA, we check out fighters & coaches reactions on thoughts on this new concept.

Joe Rogan – UFC Commentator
The veteran UFC commentator have voiced his criticisms on weight cutting practices & welcomes ONE Championship’s move on his tweet

Joe Lauzon – UFC Lightweight
Lauzon expressed his thoughts on the idea on this video. While he is generally supportive on the idea, J-Lau questions on practicality of the monitoring & enforcement of ONE’s proposed method

Anthony Engelen – ONE Championship Featherweight

Big news from ONE Championship. They are definitly revolutionizing MMA. I hope all other organisations will follow their…

Posted by Anthony Engelen on Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bashir Ahmad – ONE Championship Featherweight
Well, this is exciting but I also want more information about this. For example what does this mean for the champions? Will they be changing weight classes? What is the new procedure going to be?
As long as I am fighting someone near my weight category I am not going to be too bothered by this. It’s not like it applies only to me and no one else.

What is going to be their accepted measurement of dehydration, when I fight I’m drinking so much water by that point id be peeing clear, will they hav a minimum standard? Is the minimum standard and optimum performance standard the same? Will they allow someone to cut one pound of water to make weight? There are a lot of details and things that will be ironed out, but I 100% support it. I just think it’s going to be difficult for the ONE Championship staff in the transition period and I hope they give everyone some flexibility. The first show is in less than 5 weeks.

Casey Suire – ONE Championship Bantamweight

Excessive weight cutting definitely needs to be addressed, but it will be very challenging to predict a true walkaround …

Posted by Casey Suire on Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Didier Le Borgne – ONE Championship women flyweight Irina Mazepa’s Coach
About ONE’s decision of new weight regulation, of course I agree at 100%. WBC and WBA [alreadyt] used this kind of rules… but only for title fights. Should [be] used for all fights. Dehydration is very dangerous and damage the cephalic protection of the brain. So I agree, and I’m happy to collaborate with an organisation as ONE Championship who took this decision. After the sad accident in Manila (Yang Jian Bing passed away) it’s very responsible from ONE to take this decision. It will not be easy to make these controls… but it will be so difficult to sign some fighters from other organisations as they use to cut so much weight last days before the weigh-in… Many fighters are naturally from heavier weight division, but it’s usual practice in MMA to cut one division more. I really hope that other big organisations will adopt this way too… even if I don’t believe UFC will agree… all fighters cut so much weight to fight in UFC… we heard many ufc fighters complain to have to fight by contract in lowler weight division… So , today I can congratulate ONE Championship for this historical decision.

Fransino Tirta – ONE Championship Bantamweight
Wow… What a great innovation… This will force all the fighters to be more discipline in maintaining good diet, no more Bullshits of starving and thirsting the fighters to the death before weigh in. Fighters will have to fight at their natural weight. I love it

Marat Gafurov – ONE Championship Featherweight Titleholder
It’s good for our sport. All will [fight] on equal footing. I can go to the higher weight

Martin Nguyen – ONE Championship Featherweight
To be honest, I think this idea is a much healthier approach to a fight. I usually don’t cut much when it comes to weight cutting but to think some guys cutting excessive weight to become dominant in a division is unfair. Plus I can’t stand the thought of what happen to Yang Jian Bing, it’s just truly sad thinking about it. ONE championship has did it again with another game changing move. Big ups to them.

Max “Ombak” Metino – ONE Championship featherweight
This is a good set of move by ONE Championship, for the following reasons:
1.) It’s a step forward for health & safety for fighters
2.) As fighters cannot manipulate bodyweight, the fighters will face each other on a more equal terms with similar bodyweights inside the arena
3.) Hence, fight quality should improve & fans will have more exciting fights, as fighters are not stressed & tired on the ring from the weight manipulation.
This is a good beginning, & I believe other promotions should follow suit.

Yohan Mulia Legowo – ONE Championship featherweight
I personally like this new procedure, especially given that we lag behind on nutrition & supplements. Hence, if we have to fight on walking weight, I’ll be really happy to do so. In addition, this is better for fighters’ long term health.

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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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