Last year, ONE Championship Chairman & CEO Chatri Sityodtong took to Twitter to claim that the Singapore-based promotion’s strawweight champion Angela Lee was paid more than UFC stars Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Cris “Cyborg” Justino.
Yes, rumors are true. ONE Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee’s new contract pays more than what Cris Cyborg or Joanna Jedrzejczyk make.
— Chatri Sityodtong (@YODCHATRI) May 12, 2016
In a recent interview with IBTimes.com Sityodtong reiterated this previous claim, going so far as to state that One Championship pays its fighters roughly as much as the much larger UFC does.
“I think our pay scale is comparable to the UFC,” Sityodtong said. “Except for three or four fighters [in the UFC], it is roughly the same based on experience level and skill level.”
It is the large resource pool of the Singapore-based promotion, Sityodtong said, that allowed them to outbid the UFC in the battle for fighters like Ben Askren and Bibiano Fernandes.
“Yeah, I mean that’s how we got [welterweight champion] Ben Askren and [bantamweight champion] Bibiano Fernandes,” he said. “Both of them were in discussions with the UFC and they chose ONE. So we’re always on the lookout for new stars.”
Sityodtong then explained that his promotion will happily enter into bidding wars with the UFC in the future, but only for the right fighters. As ONE CEO International Victor Cui explained recently, the promotion has no interest in fighters like Conor McGregor.
“They [future fighters] have to exhibit the right values,” he said. “We really care about the Asian audience and what they look for. Seventy percent of our roster also comes from Asia.”“We are very selective,” Sityodtong continued. “Most UFC stars don’t resonate in Asia so we are looking at stars with amazing skills but also the values that really connect with the Asian audience. We’d be interested in Georges St-Pierre. He’s a kind, gentle martial artist who truly represents the values we’re looking for.”
“He was under contract with the UFC,” he said. “If he was a free agent, then yes, he’s a martial artist and he truly represents our values.”
Do you think ONE Championship can outbid the UFC for free agents in the future?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/1/2017.