Every industry has its influential leaders who are the driving forces of progress and change. With the explosive growth of MMA around the world, the sport of Asian MMA is no different. The Yahoo! Sports Asian MMA Power List is an annual compilation of the people who possess the power, the financial resources, and the network to influence the future of Asian MMA.
Victor Cui has won almost every accolade for his leadership role in launching Asian MMA onto the global stage. Under his leadership as CEO, the powerful giant ONE Fighting Championship has broken almost every record in Asia as a sports media property in terms of 10,000-20,000 stadium attendance, robust TV ratings, media footprint, sponsors, and advertisers. It is now broadcast in over 70 countries to a potential 1 billion homes around the world. More impressive than the numbers is the fact that ONE Fighting Championship held its first event only two and a half years ago. With a 90% market share in Asia, it is now the 2nd largest MMA organization in the world behind only American giant, UFC. Cui is the undisputed leader of the powerful alpha males who run Asian MMA.
Chatri Sityodtong is one of the biggest pioneers of Asian MMA with arguably the largest rolodex in Asian MMA today. He is a phone call away from virtually every mover and shaker in Asia. A Harvard MBA, Sityodtong is the serial entrepreneur who retired at 37 years old after hitting it big with his US$500 million global hedge fund. The former professional Muay Thai fighter is involved in several ventures, including Asia's top chain of martial arts academies, a US$1.5 billion real estate company, the world's largest online university for martial arts, and several other ventures. Sityodtong is also known as a part of the powerful group of financial backers of ONE Fighting Championship.
Mark Fischer is the CEO of UFC Asia. Before joining the UFC, Fischer led NBA's successful charge into China and built it into a multimillion dollar business. A 30 year sports media veteran with fluency in Mandarin, Fischer has the experience, deal-making savvy, and professional network to build UFC in Asia. He is the man behind the recently announced deals with The Venetian in Macau and the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Fischer also orchestrated the move for UFC Asia headquarters from Beijing to Singapore. While it is still very early days for UFC in Asia, Fischer has plans to unseat Asian giant, ONE Fighting Championship.
Masakazu Sakai is one of the power brokers behind Pancrase, the longest running MMA event in Japan. Pancrase was originally formed in 1993. From suits to energy drinks, Sakai has extended the Pancrase brand horizontally. While Pancrase does not have a media broadcast deal, it does have typical attendance in the thousands and this Japanese domestic promotion will be co-hosting its first event with American startup league WSOF later this year. A very well-respected veteran of the Japanese MMA industry, Sakai has a deep network of fighters and managers in Japan.
Moon Hong Jung
Moon Hong Jung is the CEO of ROAD FC, Korea's largest MMA promotion. A multimillionaire entrepreneur and former professional MMA fighter, Jung has singlehandedly led the stunning revival of MMA in Korea. He is also the owner of ROAD FC Official Gym, the largest chain of MMA gyms in Korea. Jung also recently unveiled a custom-built stadium for ROAD FC events. With its own reality TV show, ROAD FC also landed a TV deal in Korea with CJ E&M Channel, Super Action. Jung has been very vocal and public about his enmity for the UFC.
A legendary figure in the sport of MMA, Matt Hume is one of the biggest pioneers of global MMA with over 25 years of MMA experience. He has been a professional fighter, a coach, a manager, a referee, a judge, and a senior executive for various MMA organizations including PRIDE, UFC, Dream, Shooto, Pancrase, and more. He is currently a Vice President for ONE Fighting Championship, Asia's largest MMA organization. He is also the head coach of current UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson. Hume is responsible for talent recruitment and matchmaking for ONE FC. A mega-power broker, Hume has a fierce reputation.
Jason Lo is the CEO of Tune Talk, the fastest growing mobile virtual network operator in Malaysia. Tune Talk is a key part of Tony Fernandes' vast billion dollar empire alongside Air Asia and Tune Hotels. An astute businessman, Lo is widely viewed as the most powerful man in Malaysian MMA and is the main driver behind MIMMA, the largest amateur MMA fight league in Asia. This former rockstar and musician is also the man behind the ground-breaking partnership between Tune Talk and ONE Fighting Championship. It is no surprise for the top Asian brands to be collaborating together as Jason Lo and Victor Cui are virtually inseparable in their efforts to revolutionize sports in Malaysia.
Shigeru Saeki, CEO of DEEP in Japan Alvin Aguilar, CEO of URCC in the Philippines Edward Calvo, CEO of PXC in Guam Joel Resnick, CEO of RUFF in China
Shigeru Saeki, CEO of DEEP in Japan
Alvin Aguilar, CEO of URCC in the Philippines
Edward Calvo, CEO of PXC in Guam
Joel Resnick, CEO of RUFF in China