Chatri Sityodtong, the CEO of ONE Championship, faces scrutiny over the promotion’s financial stability, with contrasting views on its future. Despite negative reports and claims from insiders, Sityodtong remains resolute, projecting record revenue and profitability in the coming years.
Recent statements from former Bellator exec Mike Kogan suggest a bleak outlook for ONE Championship. Kogan, speaking on The MMA Hour, questioned the sustainability of the organization, alleging an imminent closure due to financial troubles. However, Sityodtong dismisses these claims, asserting a strong rapport with Qatar investors and a positive trajectory for the company.
“I’ve been at this sport for a long time,” Kogan said on The MMA Hour. “I don’t have it in me to start from scratch. There just isn’t anybody else. If you don’t go to PFL, obviously, I’m not getting hired by the UFC, ONE FC pissed away $600 million and is about to go out of business, where do you go?”
“They’re gonna go out of business,” he continued. “These people scammed everybody they could scam. They’ve run out of people to scam. It’s the truth. I mean come on. 10 years. You can’t be a start-up for 10 years. Jesus Christ. At some point, you’ve got to start showing something. So, they’re gonna go out, so where’s there to go? There’s nowhere else to go. I’ve always said, this is like the largest small industry in the world. It’s big, it’s on TV, there’s millionaires being made, there’s all these stories, but at the end, it’s a handful of people that run it and a handful of people that have an ability to do anything with it.”
Deal Street Asia‘s scathing report further intensifies the financial debate. ONE Championship grapples with significant losses, accumulating $111 million in a single year and a staggering $383 million by 2021. The reported revenue, primarily from non-cash deals, raises concerns about the clarity of the financial picture.
Despite facing challenges, Sityodtong disputes the pessimistic narrative. He highlights a decreasing burn rate and foresees core business profitability by the second half of the upcoming year. In response to allegations of Qatar’s embarrassment, Sityodtong emphasizes a robust relationship with the Qatar government, dismissing such notions as baseless.
In an interview with SCMP, Sityodtong categorically denies the financial woes, attributing them to “fake news.” Drawing parallels to past instances where ONE Championship’s financial data faced scrutiny, he urges reliance on reputable sources like Bloomberg and Financial Times for accurate information.
“No absolutely not,” he told the Post, when asked if Qatar felt embarrassed. “We have a fantastic relationship with the Qatar government. They are big shareholder in the company. We talk to all our shareholders and board members on a regular basis all the time.”
“How many times has there been misinformation of these clickbait articles in the last five years for ONE and what happened? We went on to have record breaking years in terms of event viewership and revenue,” he said.