ONE Championship’s Thai event breaks ratings record

Thailand flexed its soft power with a night of hard-hitting matches between Muay Thai fighters at Bangkok’s Lumpini Stadium as the event staged by martial arts media company ONE Championship captured the most global viewers for Muay Thai in history.

Nielsen, the U.S.-based global market measurement firm, reported that the ONE Lumpini 9 broadcast was the most-viewed Muay Thai event in history in terms of global viewership across 180 countries. In Thailand, where the weekly series airs live, the event saw record highs, beating all shows and content categories in primetime.

Muay Thai is the Kingdom’s indigenous martial art, a style of hand-to-hand combat used by ancient Thai warriors and adapted into a modern sport where kicks and grappling are allowed in addition to punching. Many mixed martial artists study Muay Thai techniques.

ONE Championship is a martial arts media company founded by Thai-Singaporean Chatri Sityodtong. Globally, it is the top challenger to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and it has steadily been gaining ground.

Last year, Nielsen said that ONE Championship ranks top five in viewership and engagement among all major global sports properties, according to its report “Year in Review: Sports Consumption Evolution.”

Lumpini Stadium in downtown Bangkok is considered the “Mecca of Muay Thai,” the equivalent of Caesar’s Palace or Madison Square Garden in Western-style boxing.

In the main event, ONE lightweight Muay Thai world champion Regian Eersel of Holland dispatched Sinsamut Klinmee of Thailand, knocking out the Thai challenger in the fourth round with a pulverizing body shot and locking in a $50,000 bonus.

In the undercard, Muay Thai superstars Muangthai PK Saenchai and Kulabdam Sor Jor Piek Uthai, went head-to-head in bantamweight action, with Muangthai finishing off Kulabdam in the third round.


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