There's interesting news coming out of the Asian MMA scene from both Legend FC and ONE FC. Both promotions will be hosting their next shows at the same date, and both promotions have announced major deals for their promotions on the same day as well.
Earlier today, Legend FC has announced an "exclusive distribution and syndication agreement" with ESPN. This Hong Kong-based promotion is already available on 10 countries, including PPV in North America, and with this deal, they'll be looking to expand their reach to a broader audience globally with the help of ESPN international. From their press release:
Legend Fighting Championship (Legend) today announced the signing of an exclusive distribution and syndication agreement with ESPN International (ESPN). Under the terms of the agreement, ESPN will serve as the sole distribution agent of all Legend broadcast content in Asia, Oceania, the Indian sub-continent, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
... "Legend’s combination of a roster filled with elite fighters from the Asia-Pacific region with high-quality production values makes us excited to work with them to continue to develop their audience around the world," said Mike Walter, vice president of programming, ESPN International.
ONE FC on the other hand, will be hosting a show on the same date, and as we wrote about earlier, the Singapore-based promotion is set to be broadcast all over Asia on ESPN Star Sports (ESS). The promotion announced this deal a few moments ago, also adding that they have entered in a 10-year partnership with the company, guaranteeing a decade's worth of shows being broadcast on ESS. From their release:
ONE Fighting Championship™, Asia’s largest MMA organization, announces a 10-year media partnership with ESPN STAR Sports, Asia’s biggest sports content provider. This partnership marks the largest MMA media deal in Asian history and includes showcasing the best Asian mixed martial artists against one another through a series of events across all the major cities in Asia.
... Adam Zecha, Executive Vice President, Head of Sales (SEA), ESPN STAR Sports, said, "ESPN STAR Sports has always been at the forefront in offering innovative and engaging programming to sports fans across the region. We have successfully showcased a diverse range of combat sports events to fans, and with this long-term partnership with ONE Fighting Championship, mixed-martial arts sports fans can now look forward to more exciting action on our networks."
Not sure about what's the difference between ESPN International and ESPN Star Sports? Not sure what's the difference between both deals? All that is explained after the jump.
Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena.
For those unfamiliar with the difference between the two 'ESPN' identities -- ESPN Star Sports (where ONE FC has a media partnership with) is a joint venture between News Corp (which owns Star TV and Fox International) and ESPN International (the one Legend FC has a distribution deal with). So while they're not exactly the same, especially with their reach on other continents, there's still a bit of an overlap between the two networks and their channels in Asia.
As for the actual deals they made, they seem to be completely different.
Legend FC has an agreement where ESPN International can help distribute their product and show them to some of the channels on their network, but it seems like they will still have to negotiate on which specific markets/channels they want their products to be aired. This gives them flexibility on what market they wish to be broadcast, but this also means that they won't get to maximize the entire reach of the ESPN network.
ONE FC on the other hand, has their 10-year partnership, which basically guarantees that for the next decade, their product will be airing all over Asia, on all of the channels under the ESS umbrella. This could mean less flexibility for the promotion, but it also means they will be able to maximize the entire reach of ESS, which spans through 24 countries in Asia.
Legend FC's next event will be on Feb 11, in Macau, and it will be headlined by two title fights. Yao Honggang and Li Jingliang, who are both teammates of UFC fighter, Zhang Tiequan will be taking on highly ranked Jumabieke Tuerxun and Bae Myung Ho respectively for the Legend FC bantamweight and welterweight titles.
As mentioned, ONE FC 2 will be in Indonesia, and it will also be on Feb 11th. It will be headlined by a lightweight bout between Martial Combat champion, Ole Laursen, and Felipe Enomoto, and a co-headlined by URCC Champ, Honorio Banario and Bae Young Kwon.
Check out the official fight cards for both events below:
Legend Fighting Championship 7
February 11, 2012 - Grand Hyatt, City of Dreams, Macau
- Bae Myung Ho vs. Li Jingliang [Legend FC Welterweight Championship]
- Yao Honggang vs. Jumabieke Tuerxun [Legend FC Bantamweight Championship]
- Liu Wenbo Vs. Matt Cain
- Hideto Tatsumi vs. Yang Hae Jun
- Wang Sai vs. Gareth Ealey
- Ji Xian vs. Leonard Delarmino
- Taiyo Nakahara vs. Michael Mortimer
- Koji Ando vs. Damien Brown
- Mark Striegl vs. Choi Yeong Gwang
- Sung Ming-Yen vs. Agustin Delarmino Jr.
ONE FC 2: Battle of Heroes
February 11, 2012 - Sports Mall Kelapa Gading, Jakarta, Indonesia
- Victorio Senduk vs. Raymond Tiew
- Alex Silva vs. Geje Eustaquio
- Jessie Rafols vs. Irshaad Sayed
- Ngabdi Mulyadi vs. Peter Davis
- Zuli Silawanto vs. Agus NaNang