Earlier today the official press conference took place at Lumpinee. The event was attended by several big promoters such as Nuttadaj Vachirarattanawong of Petchyindee, Thainchai Pisitwuttinan of Rajadamnern World Series, Songchai Rattanasuban of One Songchai and Deer Kiatpetch of Kiatpetch. Several ONE Championship fighters including Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, Smilla Sundell and Stamp Fairtex were also present.
Mr. Sityodtong announced that ONE Championship will be holding 52 events at Lumpinee in 2023, and that ONE will pay far bigger fight purses than any other promoter at the stadium. Furthermore ONE Championship will invest USD 100 million to develop and grow the sport of Muay Thai over the coming years.
One could think that this move could be seen as a direct assault on the other promoters, but the big guns of the Muay Thai promotion scene in Bangkok were present, and supported the announcements and the move.
Mr. Sityodtong is well respected and is a Thai citizen, who used to fight professionally himself (Muay Thai).
The move is part of a general movement in the Muay Thai environment in Bangkok, Thailand where the big stadiums have realized, that modernization is needed: Female fighters are now allowed to fight at the big stadiums; MMA fights are promoted at Lumpinee; fight purses are going up (courtesy of ONE Championship), more international fighters are brought in; more focus on SoMe (social media) and TV-distribution has been adopted, and much has been done to stop the gambling at the stadiums.
With regards to fight purses, it is a monumental step, since only the few, selected guys, like Nong-O can earn millions of Thai Baht fighting for ONE Championship, but in Thailand he would have only been paid a fraction of that – even fighting for a world title at the big, respected stadiums.
“I never imagined when I started Muay Thai 38 years ago at Sityodtong Gym that it would lead to this moment. I’ve lived Muay Thai as a student, a competitor, a teacher, and now a CEO. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would be the main promoter for the Lumpinee Stadium to showcase our national treasure to the world. For the first time in history, Lumpinee will be broadcast live to 154 countries.”
FIGHT SPORTS will keep you updated on all future ONE Championship events including the new gigs at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.