Rise vs One championship: an unfolding battle in Asia?

The unfolding battle between One Championship and Rose what is being dubbed by some as the battle for Asia
Written by Guido de Boer
Published on Jun 13, 2023, 12:00:00 AM
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Whilst the European continent is slowly heading off into its annual summer break and business winds down, there has been a story unfolding in Asia that could have far reaching consequences for some. Some have called it the battle of Asia and it involves Singapore’s One Championship and Japan’s RISE. 

What exactly is going on?

One Championship’s CEO Chatri Sidyodtong recently attended a press conference in Japan to mark the signing off Takeru Segawa with his organisation. What should have been a pretty standard event within the sport - fighter signs contract and president and fighter answer questions from the media - quickly took a dramatic turn when Sidyodtong took aim at Japanese kickboxing and the workings of the sport in Japan and accused the sport in Japan to be favouring Japanese fighters.

One Championship’s CEO Chatri Sidyodtong during the press conference

It’s unclear what provoked the CEO directly but he took the mic and started his monologue:  “In Japan, Japanese fighters are favoured in the judging. Everyone in the world knows that Rodtang beat Tension (a fight that happened on April 1st this year). Absolutely, Rodtang beat Tenshin. But, the judges were fooled. Everyone in the world knows that Japanese judges favour Japanese fighters.”

A common back and forth of jabs

Everyone knows that each organisation has their own world champions and will engage in the occasional trash talk about their competitors as to who really is the undisputed champion in a specific weight category. Whilst this trash talk can get heated at times, there is general mutual respect towards each other.

The comments by Mr. Sidyodtong did not go unnoticed and raised more than a couple of eyebrows in Japan. In particular the eyebrows of Takashi Ito, CEO of Rise Japan’s biggest fighting promotion organisation. Mr Ito speaking exclusively to Warrior Code: “When an organisation comes out with statements such as these, to me it looks like they are trying to make a fool of us (Japanese). It seems to me like they don’t have respect towards Japanese organisations and fighters. It’s unheard of and out of line.”

Mr Ito believes comments like these really carry the risk of reputational damage and, unless backed up by hard evidence, should not be made. To show One Championship that the comments are being taken seriously, Mr Ito and Rise have issued a formal letter to Mr Sidyodtong asking if the accusations were made on behalf of One Champion as an organisation or on behalf of Mr Sidyodtong alone as a private individual.

The letter sent from RISE to One Championship

If the comments were made on behalf of One Championship and not backed up by hard evidence, Mr Ito is giving One Championship the opportunity to recall these statements. It’s unclear what exact consequences not answering and therefore standing by the comments as an organisation would mean for any potential future collaborations between Rise and One Championship but it’s clear the story has not gone down well in Japan.  Mr Ito: “I think it’s One Championship who has shut that door for the moment. He has the chance to recall his statements and perhaps there is a chance to collaborate after that but for now the ball is in their court and we continue to focus on our organisation and fighters.”

Deadline expired

The letter to Mr Sidyodtong was issued last Monday June 5th and the deadline for One Championship to respond was 5 business day. That deadline has now expired. How will RISE now respond? Warrior Code understands from unnamed sources that RISE will proceed to call One Championship out publicly and for their comments and propose a tournament to settle this rumour once and for all. You thought you were gonna have a quiet summer? Think again!

Continue to follow Warrior Code as we bring you life updates as they come.

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