ONE Championship, considered the largest combat sports promotion in all of Asia, was forced to layoff 20-percent of its workforce this week, despite another round of funding that added $70 million to its “nine-digit war chest.”
“It is one of the most heart-wrenching decisions I have ever had to make in life,” CEO Chatri Sityodtong wrote. “On the one hand, ONE has a strong balance sheet with a nine-digit war chest after today’s new funding announcement. It puts us in the perfect position to continue aggressively building Asia’s largest global sports media property. On the other hand, these extraordinary times for the world require unusual prudence to protect our company and to ensure its longevity for many years to come. With the decision to sharpen our focus around core strategic priorities, ONE will undergo a 20% reduction in total worldwide headcount.”
ONE Championship recently saw its accumulated losses skyrocket to $126 million, according to a report from Bloody Elbow, which began long before the coronavirus pandemic rocked the sporting world and forced the cancellation of live events.
“Like other global sports media properties such as the NBA or the EPL, ONE is an IP-heavy, asset-light global platform business,” Sityodtong continued. “As Asia’s only billion-dollar sports media property at global scale, ONE has a rare and dominant position in our industry. Our institutional investors understand these qualities deeply and continue to show unwavering support as witnessed by today’s capital raise announcement.”
ONE Championship is home to several UFC exports including Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez, among others.
Endeavor, parent company of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), laid off one-third of its workforce earlier this year as a cost-saving measure; however, no one from the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion was affected by the shake up.
ONE Championship employees are expected to receive a generous severance package commensurate with time served.