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One Championship targets further growth with 2017 calendar plans

The One Championship mixed martial arts promotion has unveiled its calendar for the 2017 season, with new dates announced for Vietnam and Shanghai and further events planned across Asia as it looks to expand into new markets.

The series has confirmed plans to add more dates in other Chinese cities, including Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing, as well as Vietnam, Japan and South Korea. Returning hosts for 2017 include Jakarta (Indonesia), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Manila (Philippines), Bangkok (Thailand), Yangon (Myanmar), Singapore and Macau.

The announcement follows the appointment last month of Yoshiaki Ito as the inaugural president of the One Championship in Japan. No Japanese events have been confirmed so far, although the promotion said it would “take advantage of the potential of world-class MMA in Vietnam, South Korea and Japan with events to be announced at a later date.”

One Championship has enjoyed a successful 2016, becoming the first-ever major MMA promotion to hold a live event in Bangkok, with sell-out crowds and major sponsorship deals also aiding the series’ growth.

“2016 has been a phenomenal year for One Championship,” the series’ chief executive, Victor Cui, said. “It was absolutely historic for the promotion and 2017 promises to be even better.

“With the addition of key senior leaders to aid One with our growth plans, the promotion is in an unbelievable position to make some major waves in the global MMA industry. Together we aim to deliver fans a continuously unique experience that they will never forget.

“One Championship is coming out in full force to hold electric live events all over mainland China, with plans to break into new and exciting markets in Vietnam, South Korea and Japan.”

The 2017 One Championship schedule begins on January 14 with an event in Jakarta, before the promotion travels to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Manila in February, March and April, respectively.

Events in Singapore on May 26, Beijing on June 30 and Yangon, Myanmar on July 14 will follow, before Macau plays host on August 12. Further events in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta will then follow, before another Chinese date, in Shenzhen, on October 21.

The promotion then travels to Da Nang in Vietnam, Yangon, Manila and Singapore before the end of November. The provisional calendar concludes with events in Beijing on December 2, Bangkok on December 9 and Shanghai on December 12.

In July, One secured investment from a consortium led by Singapore-based firm Heliconia Capital Management, with the deal being viewed as a means to boost its presence in the Chinese market.