ONE Championship Bringing MMA to B/R Live and TNT

B/R Live StaffContributor IDecember 13, 2018

Confetti rain on Brandon Vera after his victory over Mauro Cerilli of Italy in the One Championship Mixed Martial Arts Heavyweight title fight at the Mall of Asia Arena in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines late Friday Nov. 23, 2018. Vera won over Cerilli via a Knockout in the first minute of the first round. The victory of Vera gives a total five championship belts currently the Philippines is holding in the world of mixed martial arts. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Bullit Marquez/Associated Press

One of the largest fighting promotions in the world has found a broadcasting home in the United States.

Turner Sports has reached a three-year partnership with ONE Championship to distribute its live event coverage. B/R Live will present its first ONE Championship event on Saturday, Jan. 19, with 24 total live events scheduled in 2019.

B/R Live, which is a division of Turner Sports, will also distribute other on-demand video content around the events, and TNT will televise at least 12 one-hour taped re-airs.

"ONE Championship is one of the most popular mixed martial arts organizations in the world, with a high concentration of passionate, millennial fans that make it a perfect fit for B/R Live and TNT," said Turner Sports president Lenny Daniels. "We will leverage every opportunity within our portfolio to partner with ONE Championship and help further expand its footprint in the U.S."

This will be Turner and B/R Live's first foray into the MMA world, joining the streaming platform's coverage of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, NBA, NCAA, and other leagues around the world. 

ONE Championship recently made headlines when it expanded its roster to include Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez, Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson and "Super" Sage Northcutt earlier in 2018. The mixed martial arts standouts are set to join other ONE Championship stars such as "Unstoppable" Angela Lee, Eduard "Landslide" Folayang and "The Burmese Python" Aung La N Sang.

Last October, the promotion announced an unprecedented trade with the UFC, receiving former flyweight champion Johnson in exchange for ONE's former welterweight champion Ben Askren. The potential for future similar trades could boost ONE's presence in the U.S., with MMA fans thinking of dream matchups between fighters from each brand.

"I spent seven years in North America fighting the best in the world," Johnson said after the move. "I've never traveled to Asia to fight the best. I think now is the perfect time to do it. The biggest thing that you can expect from me for coming over here to compete in Asia is that I'll do my best. I am taking no shortcuts."

ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced Thursday morning that the Flyweight World Grand Prix will begin on March 31 in Tokyo, with Johnson expected to headline the tournament. Former UFC champion Alvarez is also expected to make his debut during the Lightweight World Grand Prix on Feb. 22 in Singapore.

B/R Live's coverage of ONE Championship begins in Jakarta with a title bout between strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio and challenger Hayato Suzuki, who defeated Pacio in their first meeting last year. The rest of the card is yet to be announced.

Additional scheduling will be shared at a later date. Sign up for a B/R Live account to receive more information when it is available.

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