Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Speculation Station: Is One FC Signing Top Japanese Fighters?

I like to think of myself as a master or expert combat sports conspiracy theorist. Too bad it doesn't help my resume any...

I've been tracking One FC for months now, and if the media buzz is any indication, this organization looks to be the best thing since Eminem decided to issue a decent hip hop track.

Last night, One FC released the fight card for their September 10 event. A first glance at the card reveals a ticket that is internationally sound, as One has signed fighters from all over, primarily out of the Asian Pacific. However, with all of these signings, the one country that is not represented as well as one might expect from a major Asian mixed martial arts card is Japan. Initially, I found it strange that the most influential MMA country in Asia has little-to-no presence within a promotion that is being touted as the next Pride.

The one exception -- UFC vet and former GCM welterweight standout Yoshiyuki Yoshida who is slated to meet fellow UFC vet, the well-traveled Phil Baroni in the co-main event. But outside of Yoshida, Japan is missing from One FC's first card. Don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily think it takes away from the card or from One FC as a rising promotion, but the fact of the matter is Japanese talent is critical to the larger Asian MMA scheme of things.

One FC understands the value of JMMA is it relates to the bigger Asian MMA picture. So, I'm speculating that One FC is in the process of signing some top talent from Japan. They've already stated that they have some other signings in the works, but have yet to disclose who these fighters are. I have communicated with a One FC representative who informed me of the "possility" of Japanese signings, but did not officially confirm any signings.

What I do know is that Shinya Aoki puts in training time at Evolve MMA in Singapore. Evolve MMA is a fast up-and-coming school/camp that is closely associated with One FC's and is one of their talent providers. I'm really drawing on vague connections here, but I'm willing to go as far as saying that One FC is probably working to sign Shinya to One FC. If anything, the fact that Aoki has associated himself with a camp that is close to One FC offers some ground to the idea that One FC is privately recruiting Japanese talent.

Point being: Japanese MMA is struggling but it's still the standard bearer in Asia. So, as it stands, I think it is fair to say, there is no Asian MMA without JMMA somewhere in the picture. So, signing Japanese fighters is somewhere on One FC's list of priorities, and it's only a matter of time before we hear about some major Japanese talent heading to One FC.

1 comment:

  1. Shinya Aoki is part of the Evolve Fight Team and if he fights in ONE FC, it'll be huge!