First Ever ONE Championship Card Set for Tokyo: Could It Be Bigger Than Pride FC?

August 4, 2018

ONE Championship will hold an event in Tokyo on March 30, 2019. The promotion’s Japanese expansion has been picking up steam with several new signings and partnerships announced in recent months and a date for a first ever show there is now official.

ONE Championship founder / CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who is half Japanese, broke the news on facebook:

There will be a press conference in Tokyo on August 23, where more details are likely to be revealed. ONE Championship has been rapidly signing up Japanese fighters in recent months with new arrivals including Ken Hasegawa, Tatsumitsu Wada, Koyomi Matsushima, Kota Shimoishi, and Shuya Kamikubo.

Other Japanese mixed martial artists already on the roster include Shinya Aoki, Koji Ando, Kotetsu Boku, Mei Yamaguchi, Hayato Suzuki, Riku Shibuya, Tetsuya Yamada, Yuki Kondo, Kazunori Yokota, and Masakazu Imanari.

There is also the possibility that Renzo Gracie could make an emotional return to Japan. The 51-year-old welterweight announced that he had already spoken to ONE Championship about the possibility of competing there with a rematch with Kazushi Sakuraba reportedly being negotiated.

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ONE Championship already has a broadcast deal with AbemaTV, a popular streaming service in Japan. Chatri is optimistic that his organization can help rekindle the glory days of Pride.

“We have the right Japanese partners in Japan to succeed and make it even bigger than PRIDE was, and take martial arts back to the mainstream, where it belongs in Japan,” he said.