The Home Of Martial Arts continued its global expansion with another landmark deal on Thursday, 14 March.
ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced that the world’s largest martial arts organization has entered into an exclusive partnership with Japanese martial arts promotion Pancrase.
The arrangement will create a talent pathway for Pancrase’s best athletes to progress into ONE and compete on the global stage.
This agreement closely mirrors the partnership ONE struck with Japanese organization Shooto, where the promotion’s World Champions and most talented prospects are afforded the opportunity to join The Home Of Martial Arts.
“Following our partnership with Shooto, ONE Championship is excited to offer the same opportunity to Pancrase athletes and World Champions to compete on the world’s largest stage for martial arts,” Sityodtong said.
“We are fully committed to developing Japan’s martial arts ecosystem from the amateur up to the professional level. Our partnership with Pancrase once again marks the world’s top martial arts organizations coming together to create a new era of martial arts in Japan.”
The deal sees a second well-established Japanese martial arts promotion link up with ONE, and in turn, the sport has become more connected and provides better opportunities for the athletes in the region.
“Pancrase is excited to announce our partnership with ONE Championship, which will help to raise the profile of our athletes, as well as provide them with greater development opportunities on a global stage,” Pancrase President Masakazu Sakai said.
“We believe that this partnership is the start of a long-term relationship with ONE Championship, and we look forward to shaping the future of martial arts both in and outside Japan together.”
All Pancrase World Champions will receive the opportunity to compete in ONE, while athletes from Pancrase’s developmental Neo-Blood Tournament will be given a chance to compete in ONE Warrior Series.
In addition to that, the most promising young amateur talent from Pancrase will be selected to train at Evolve in Singapore for a one-year period.
Pancrase has a rich history in Asian martial arts, with the likes of Yuki Kondo, Bas Rutten, Josh Barnett, Frank Shamrock, and Ken Shamrock all competing under the promotion’s banner in the past.
More recently, the Japanese organization has produced a host of top-level athletes who have joined ONE including Pancrase Lightweight World Champion Kazuki Tokudome, Pancrase Welterweight World Champion Daichi Abe, and Pancrase Flyweight Tournament Champion Yuya Wakamatsu.
Speaking of Wakamatsu, he will face legendary 12-time Flyweight World Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in a ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix quarter-final bout at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday, 31 March.