Next Friday’s One Championship event in Singapore will be held behind closed doors as a precaution in light of the coronavirus, and similar measures could be taken for the organisation’s other shows across Asia.
One’s chief executive and chairman Chatri Sityodtong said in a conference call with global media yesterday: “Public safety is our top priority, we will assess and monitor the situation country by country, but the show will go on, whether it’s behind closed doors or open to all fans.”
The mixed martial arts promotion has already held three events this year in Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta. After next week’s stopover at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, it will hold another 20 events – 17 in South-east Asia, two in China and one in Japan.
While the Singapore show will be closed to the public, it will be broadcast live on various platforms. Full refunds have been offered to ticket holders.
This is the second One event affected by the ongoing outbreak. Its April 11 event in Chongqing, China, has been shifted to Jakarta and will be held a day earlier.
The epidemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, has more than 70,000 cases worldwide and killed more than 1,800 people.
In Singapore, there have been 81 confirmed cases, with four in critical condition while 29 people have been discharged.
Medical product manager Bryan Tan, 33, had bought tickets to the Singapore fight – titled King of the Jungle – but praised the move by One.
He said: “It’s a small step back and disappointing, but it’s for the greater good. It’s big of them to also refund everyone fully.”
The main events will see Stamp Fairtex defend her One atomweight kickboxing world title against Janet Todd while One kickboxing world champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao meets Australian Rocky Ogden for the inaugural One strawweight muay thai world crown.
Singaporeans Amir Khan and Tiffany Teo will also be in action in the lightweight and strawweight divisions respectively. Amir will take on Japan’s Kimihiro Eto, while Teo faces Japan’s Ayaka Miura.
SHOW WILL GO ON
Public safety is our top priority, we will assess and monitor the situation country by country, but the show will go on, whether it’s behind closed doors or open to all fans.
CHATRI SITYODTONG, One Championship chief, on keeping the virus at bay.
It’ll be a different experience because we’re used to the crowd, but there will be people cheering us on while they watch us on TV.
AMIR KHAN, Singapore fighter, settling for home viewers.
On fighting in an empty arena, Amir said: “It’s a good move because it’s not smart to have thousands of people gathering in one place now. It’s honourable for Chatri to continue this event because us athletes get paid per fight and we’ve been training so hard for the past two months, so if the event had been cancelled, that’s our salary gone.
“It’ll be a different experience because we’re used to the crowd, but there will be people cheering us on while they watch on TV.”
The coronavirus epidemic has led to the cancellation or postponement of many international and local sports events .
After announcing on Monday that last season’s Singapore Premier League champions Brunei DPMM will skip Saturday’s Community Shield clash against Tampines Rovers because of precautionary travel restrictions, the Football Association of Singapore clarified yesterday that a match will still take place.
The Stags will instead face Hougang United, who finished third last year.
• Fans who have bought tickets to King of the Jungle can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call +65 3158 8588 for a refund.
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP 2020 LINE-UP
Feb 28 Singapore
March 20 Ho Chi Minh
April 10 Jakarta
April 17 Kuala Lumpur
May 29 Manila
June 5 Jakarta
June 20 Shanghai
July 3 Singapore
July 10 Bangkok
Aug 14 Manila
Sept 4 Singapore
Sept 11 Jakarta
Sept 18 Kuala Lumpur
Oct 2 Ho Chi Minh
Oct 9 Bangkok
Oct 25 Tokyo
Oct 31 Beijing
Nov 20 Singapore
Dec 4 Jakarta
Dec 11 Manila
Dec 18 Kuala Lumpur