Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bigger than Pride??? Why One FC is MMA's next Major Player

The short answer to my inquiring title: yes, definitely, absolutely. In fact, I expect One FC to be even better than Pride FC (did I just say that?).

Even before their first event, Thailand-based promotion One FC was already been labelled "the next Pride". The build-up to their inaugural event on September 3rd generated high expectations for the start-up promotion, and rightfully so. One FC is lead by the business expertise of CEO Victor Cui, an experienced business man who has quite an extensive sports management background, including work at Asian sports network ESPN Star Sports and the Olympic Games.

One FC's first event, "Champion vs. Champion" was a huge success, but afterwards hooked One FC fans such as myself heard crickets. The organization went silent in the aftermath of a monstrous event. I found myself questioning the stability of One FC. Yet still, something in the back of my mind was telling me that Victor Cui and the One FC business team were in the lab cooking up something good for MMA fans.

Fortunately, my sixth sense was right on, and this week fans were greeted with news that One FC has already booked three events for early 2012. Then, this morning, I woke up to more One FC news -- that One FC has also been busy forming an alliance of MMA gyms and promotions across Asia. Additionally, it is being reported by various MMA sites that One FC could be adding 23 more Asian organizations to their list of partners to include Japan's top brand promotion, Dream.

Under the leadership of Victor Cui, One FC will be a huge success. Unlike their western counterpart, the UFC, One FC is taking a non-aggressive business approach to MMA -- that is forming an alliance; a network of mixed martial arts organizations. They are showing and proving that as much as they want to be successful, they have the overall success of Asian MMA in mind. Moreover, it is obvious that Cui and One FC understand that there is strength in numbers.

The UFC could take a lesson from One FC. Friendly business partnerships are a critical part of a successful business models. Aggressive business practices and buyouts can build a mega-brand, but friendly, inclusive methods are healthy for the sport. In the long run, One FC will win, because they are building a brand that aims to please both the fan base and the business element of the sport. This notion sits well with the mixed martial arts community as a whole, and will eventually lead to the same mega-brand status that we see in the UFC.

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