ONE Championship’s CEO Explains Why He’d “Really” Not Sign Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor may be one of the biggest names in all of combat sports, and he’s been the driving force in several of the biggest pay-per-view cards to date. But, ONE Championship’s CEO Chatri Sityodtong says he’ll pass on trying to sign the superstar if he ever has a chance.

If you follow MMA on the regular then you know that ONE has made some big moves in recent weeks, as the Asian based promotion acquired Demetrious Johnson from the UFC (which prompted a much-discussed backlash from McGregor) and signed former UFC lightweight champ, Eddie Alvarez. The organization has done so as it continues to run with a busy schedule of events throughout Asia.

Well, recently Sityodtong appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, and while discussing whether he’d try to sign the Irish star, the CEO said this (quotes via MMA Mania):

“No, I really wouldn’t (sign him). I don’t think he would do well out here in Asia based on the fact of some of the things that he did, already done,”

“I think a lot of companies her would take serious, serious issue. I don’t want to bad mouth anybody and Conor is his own guy,” he said. “With any organization or company, there are going to be companies for x, y and z type of people and companies for a, b, c type of people. I think what you see now with companies like UFC, ONE Championship and Bellator, an athlete can choose where he or she is best represented or most feels at home for core values.”

“You take DJ, he will never be the trash talker or the guy who disses people. He is always going to take the high road, a man of character, man of values. For him to find a home here in ONE Championship he will be valued greatly and be much happier.”

Now, Sityodtong’s comments here might prompt some scoffs or scrutiny, particularly from McGregor supporters. The argument likely being that since McGregor is such a massive star, ONE would still be interested in doing business with him, despite some of the controversial things he’s done and said.

But, it is certainly true that ONE has a different type of brand than the UFC, and that they promote their bouts via the martial arts and respect angle, rather than focusing on any sort of pre-fight drama, trash talking, etc. Further, there’s no question that Sityodtong has the experience and knowledge to assess what type of fighter can drive interest in the Asian market.