ONE Championship is eyeing to resume action with measures to mitigate the threat of COVID-19 pandemic. The prominent combat sports’ event will not be same. The measures to deal with the prevailing threat will include keeping fans out of the arena, and if required some changes in the rules, too, to minimise the risk to the athletes. The MMA event ownership is taking expert opinion, but would not rush to enforce changes.
Cricket has banned use of saliva to shine the ball. Football is following social distancing during celebrations. Romanian Football Association has proposed a ban of up to 12 months for spitting on the field.
As sports action resumes in the COVID-19 Pandemic era, the action on field is bound to be distinct then what people have been used to over the years. Compromises are made and rules tweaked to minimise the threat of the contagious virus that has infected millions of people worldwide and taken lakhs of lives.
The challenge is even bigger for combat and contract sports. Mixed martial arts promoters ONE Championship Group Chief Commercial Offer Hari Vijayan clarified of the threat and likely measures in an interview with news agency IANS.
“We will follow the health and safety protocols mandated by the Govt of the country where we host it to ensure the event can be carried out safely. Adequate COVID-19 testing on everyone involved will also be carried out as well. As for the rules, do we need to tweak them is something we are discussing with medical experts and will have to wait and watch, for now we don’t have anything to share in specifics,” said Vijayarajan.
“We are working with Governments and monitoring border controls as to when they will be lifted and we can return back and resuming live actions.
“We will surely be starting with closed door events, to protect the health of fans, athletes and staff. We had already done a similar set of fights before the lockdown where the matches were conducted in empty stadiums, so we have experience and understanding on how it works.”
The MMA promoter is also aiming to foray into reality shows. “The Apprentice: ONE Championship edition will be our first foray into reality shows,” revealed Vijayarajan.
“ONE Championship will produce a cool, hip vibe version of “The Apprentice” and make it one of the best seasons of the show in history.
“We will add a few amazing elements into the narrative of the show such as having Celebrity Guest CEOs like India”s only female entrepreneur Ankiti Bose who is an established near-unicorn with her venture, Zilingo will be judging the business challenges and ONE World Champions who are our Star Fighters will judge the physical challenges.”