Victor Cui poses with Rodrigo Ribeiro and Rolles Gracie, who will both be competing on the card in a few hours.
Cui has been part of ESPN Star Sports for several years, and he was the head Martial Combat before starting ONE FC. Lots of people enjoyed the promotion's debut event last September, but he promises this one won't even compare to that.
"Every show I want it better. I guarantee this show is much better than my first one, and I guarantee my next one will also be better." says Victor Cui in an exclusive interview with Bloody Elbow, "The changes that are important to me, aren't just about the fight card. This is sport entertainment."
"Most promoters, most organizers, are so busy just running their event to make their show happen, because they haven't run a lot of events." says Cui, "I've already ran over 13 MMA events, I've booked over 300 fighters, so I'm on a phone call to every single fighter on the region already. My team and all of us have run some of the best in sporting events, and running a world class event in MMA is easy to me, because I've been doing that for the past decade in Asia."
He credits a lot of his success with his past experience, and he says that's one of the advantages he has over the other organizations in Asia.
"I have the best partners, the best suppliers, the best sponsors, the best government contacts. All of those things that some of these guys have to figure out, I've already have in place," Cui continues, "I started the biggest 9-ball billiards event in Indonesia. I did the same thing with Formula Drift. It's very similar to ONE FC, Asia's best, going around from city to city, with a quality television broadcast."
"Running the events are easy for me, so it allows me to focus on making the fan experience really good. It's like a rock star atmosphere. That's why we have celebrities, VIP's, and socialites all want to come because it's like the night to go to, and they don't want to miss it."
After the jump, Victor Cui details his thoughts on building a fight card.
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"Everything's unique. We try to get a different appeal both to the MMA community but also making it locally relevant." says Victor as he explains how he builds his cards, "ONE FC, my philosophy about it, is always about being the best. Bringing the best entertainment, the best possible fighters that I can, but also making it locally relevant. Which is why we have Indonesian stars on it. I want to give our markets a chance to develop, and a chance to shine in the big stage. It makes hometown heroes, and it supports fan interest too."
"I have to balance the top fighters, from the region or some international fighters that we're looking at." as Cui talks about the challenges of being a fight promoter, "I'm just lucky that I have so many fighters and agents that want to be on the ONE FC card, because they get to be on ESPN. I mean, who doesn't?"
Cui says that 10-year partnership with ESPN Star Sports have actually helped make his job much easier, as he shared an interesting anecdote about it.
"I don't even have to ask some fighters. There are even fighters that email me, that want to fight for free," he exclaimed, "They're like 'Victor, please. Don't pay me. You don't even have to pay me. I have a sponsor that can will cover my flight, I'll come out there. I will fight for you and you don't even have to pay me my prize purse'. And these are top fighters from the US, from Russia, from around Asia."
"They're just ready to come on board, so it's just difficult to try and juggle all that."