As home to the world’s finest martial artists, it’s no surprise ONE Championship’s blockbuster events regularly witness incredible displays of respect, humility, and sportsmanship.
Whether they win or lose, our heroes are always proud to represent the values and spirit of martial arts, and conduct themselves with nothing but class and dignity.
Here are some of the most sterling examples from our recent shows.
Vital Bigdash And Aung La N Sang’s Camaraderie
This past June, Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang stepped into the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in his hometown of Yangon, Myanmar, to challenge then-undefeated titleholder Vitaly Bigdash of Russia, in a rematch for the ONE Middleweight World Championship at ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION.
The hometown hero nearly knocked the champ out in the first round, but the durable Bigdash held on. From there, it turned into a back-and-forth battle, with both world-class athletes constantly seeking the finish.
This continued until the end of the bout, which saw Bigdash standing over “The Burmese Python” in a last-ditch effort to secure victory. Once the bell rang to end five rounds of action between the two warriors, the Russian actually knelt down to offer a hand to the Myanmar hero. This brought a smile to the hometown hero’s face, who gladly accept accepted.
Aung La N Sang may have won the ONE Middleweight World Championship that night, but the bond formed between the two warriors over 10 rounds and 50 minutes will undoubtedly last for ages.
Bruno Pucci And Jimmy Yabo’s Post-Bout Exchange
After overcoming a litany of issues, including a pediatric growth hormone deficiency as a child and extensive back surgery to fix a pair of herniated discs a few years ago, Brazil’s Bruno Pucci is healthy and entirely focused on his career.
Moments following the victory, Yabo showed absolute class by hugging Pucci, and congratulating him on his success. The Brazilian hugged back, but also made sure to provide Yabo with some much-needed words of encouragement.
Leandro Issa And Toni Tauru’s Amazing Sportsmanship
Following a four-year absence from the promotion, Brazil’s Leandro “Brodinho” Issa made his illustrious return to ONE Championship, and made a definitive statement at ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS this past August.
Once the Finnish grappler got back to his feet, he met the Brazilian victory in the center of the cage, who shook his hand and bowed. It was a heartwarming display of sportsmanship, as both martial artists thanked each other for the chance to showcase their skills.
Robin Catalan Holds Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke High
In early August, at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS, he took a solid step forward in his mission by weathering an offensive storm from the Philippines’ Robin Catalan, and finishing him off — just like he did with Catalan’s elder brother, Rene — with a devastating barrage of knees, showcasing his world champion Muay Thai skills.
After the match, Catalan, in an act of humility and gratitude, showed the utmost appreciation for his opponent by lifting him up in the air in celebration.
Sagetdao Petpayathai Bows Before Mahmoud Mohamed
Heavily-decorated Muay Thai world champion Sagetdao “Deadly Star” Petpayathai continued his flawless year inside the cage. He took out Egypt’s Mahmoud “El Deep” Mohamed with a melee of punches and elbows en route to his second-consecutive TKO victory at ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI earlier this September.
Only seconds after getting the victory, Sagetdao made sure to walk over to the Egyptian to make sure he was alright. Then, Petpayathai bowed to Mahmoud, showing the utmost respect and gratitude to his fallen opponent.
Miao Jie’s Compassion For Mona Samir
“Supermom” Miao Jie had a successful promotional debut at ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI. The decorated Chinese grappler, who won both a national wrestling championship and some BJJ titles, defeated multi-time African Wrestling Championship silver medalist Mona Samir via armbar in 49 seconds.
Though Miao briefly celebrated, she made sure to run over to Samir to check on her condition. She was much more concerned about Samir’s well-being than her first victory in ONE, and that in itself speaks volumes.
Tetsuya Yamada And Kyle Rozewski’s Humble Exchange
Japan’s Tetsuya Yamada returned to the promotion for the first time since his decision loss to reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang in January 2016, and reinvented himself as a threat in the featherweight division.
He clashed with short-notice replacement Kyle Rozewski at ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI, and his offensive attack was simply too much for the American to handle. He dispatched Rozewski via rear-naked choke at 1:55 in the opening stanza.
Not even three seconds after the tap, the two warriors hugged each other while still on the cage floor. Yamada got on his knees and bowed to Rozewski, who reciprocated and reached for the Japanese warrior’s hand.
Xu Chun Yan And Eh Yah Nut Hug It Out
They weren’t long-lost friends meeting each other after a long time, but they sure looked like it after their bout at ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI. In fact, China’s Xu Chun Yan and Cambodia’s Eh Ya Nut may have stolen the entire show, as both strawweight competitors showcased immense skill and a “never-say-die” attitude.
Before the unanimous decision was read declaring Xu as the winner of the three round affair, the two exhausted athletes, both battered and bruised, embraced in the center of the cage. A special bond was formed that night, and regardless of the judges decision, nothing would change that.