KEY POINTS

  • ONE Championship VP Rich Franklin says that the promotion could hold a live card in the US in late 2022
  • The approval meted out by Colorado's Office of Combative Sports is the first step towards doing so
  • Franklin also praises the Singapore-based promotion's unique "walking weight" system

Rich Franklin, the vice president of ONE Championship, is optimistic that the Singapore-based promotion’s dream of hosting a card in the United States is coming soon.

In a conversation with MMA Junkie Radio, the former UFC middleweight champion revealed that the approval they received from Colorado’s Office of Combative Sports in July is the major key towards having a live event in the country.

“Colorado has been really important for us actually. We’ve been able to basically use that as a building block. We’ve gone to several other athletic commissions at this point in time, and believe it or not, I have approval from several states at this point,” revealed Franklin. 

ONE Championship’s major differences from its counterparts across the globe have complicated its breakthrough in the U.S. market; the main one being knees to the head of a grounded opponent are allowed, a deviation from the unified rules that the UFC follows.

Other differences include the scoring system which focuses on the entirety of a fight and its unique weigh-in policy, a move that the company made after the tragic passing of Yang Jian Bing due to complications with weight-cutting.

Its weigh-in policy highly discourages fighters from entering the weigh-ins dehydrated, opting instead for a “walking weight” system in which the organization will test the athlete’s weight and hydration levels during fight week.

This system ensures that a fighter is healthy and ready to compete without compromising their well-being.

Franklin showed his admiration for this system and ONE Championship’s proactivity in ensuring that the fighters are healthy and ready to perform by having fight week CT scans.

Without disclosing any of the promotion’s plans for next year, the UFC Hall of Famer mentioned that fans should expect a last-quarter surprise from ONE Championship, hinting that Denver could be where the outfit holds its first stateside card.

“I think Denver is going to be one of the major cities that we’re looking at when we’re coming here next year. I don’t think I can publicly release how many events or any stuff like that on how many we’re doing next year, but I would look for us to be (there) on the back-half of the year [2022],” Franklin remarked.

View the whole conversation below.