ONE Championship hosted the 2018 Global Martial Arts Summit in Singapore on Thursday, 8 November, and it featured many of the biggest names in the martial arts world.
They were joined by representatives from industry-leading organizations including Facebook, Dentsu, and Global Citizen to discuss the future of martial arts with fans.
ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong opened the day of events at the JW Marriott Hotel in South Beach by outlining the organization’s vision for continuing to harness the power of martial arts to do good in the world.
New signings Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez were in attendance, and the pair spoke with Michael Schiavello and Sityodtong about their futures on the ONE roster.
Johnson, the most dominant world champion in mixed martial arts history, and Alvarez, a three-time lightweight world champion, talked about how valued they felt since joining The Home Of Martial Arts.
“I was blown away by how passionately Chatri talks about the athletes. That’s his mission. He wants to unleash real-life superheroes so people can look up to you,” Johnson said.
“I never felt like my hard work and dedication were ever more appreciated than when I competed here,” Alvarez continued, reflecting on his early career in Asia. “The way you compete, and the courage, is what’s applauded, rather than just the result.”
The legendary Renzo Gracie, who made his comeback at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS in July at 51 years old, also sat down with Schiavello for a special fireside chat, and he drew on his life and career as a martial arts icon to explore how to develop and harness a champion’s mindset.
“We’re in the business of giving people confidence, and making people believe in themselves,” Gracie said.
The grappling pioneer also revealed that he was seeking an opponent for the massive ONE show in Japan in March 2019, and hoped to compete three times next year.
In addition to that, the conference also included discussions on digital media and brand building, featuring two-division ONE World Champion Aung La N Sang and influencers from the industry.
He was joined Siang Ng, COO of Gushcloud International, Anni Tankhiwale, Global Brand Partnerships Lead for Facebook, and Katie Farhat, Senior Director of Corporate Development for Global Citizen to discuss the intersection of martial arts and social media.
“The Burmese Python” explained how he focuses on making his output positive, so he can continue to inspire people from all walks of life in his online community, as well as be authentic in his promotion of good causes.
Victor Cui, CEO of International at ONE, spoke about the promotion’s efforts to build athletes’ brands under the burgeoning ONE Elite Agency.
Alongside those influential names, there were also workshops on medical, safety, and officials’ training, the role of traditional martial arts in the modern combat landscape, and how martial arts is breaking boundaries and inspiring people to change their lives.