Earlier today, Asian-based MMA promotion ONE Championship announced that it “has increased requirements and standards for the ONE Agent Certification program.”
The announcement features several requirements, including a one-year minimum Asian living clause. ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong discussed their new plan, noting that agent fraud had been a problem in Asia:
“At ONE Championship, we are always upgrading and improving all of our systems and processes across the company to ensure a healthy ecosystem for all parties,” ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong said (h/t MMAJunkie).
“For as many decades as I can remember, agent and manager fraud has always been a big problem in Asia. ONE Championship aims to create a healthier, happier, and safer environment for our athletes both in and out of the arena.”
According to the announcement, “all Agents representing any ONE Championship athlete must be accredited with the ONE Agent Certification. ONE Championship reserves the right to revoke or deny the accreditation of any agent at its sole discretion.”
The new protocol seems to be coming from an altruistic ideology such as “no history or current ongoing matters of legal or lawsuit activity with any athlete.” The residency requirement stands out as a potential issue for U.S.-based athletes and management groups.
Sityodtong addressed some of these concerns on Facebook saying “exceptions to the criteria will be made on a case-by-case basis.”
He then went on to promote the ONE Elite Agency, a firm headed by ONE Championship owner and CEO Victor Cui that is designed as “an exclusive, invitation-only sports agency reserved for the top 10 percent of athletes in ONE Championship who show the biggest global hero promise in and out of the circle of competition.”
Sityodtong said all the changes are done with the fighters’ best interest strictly in mind:
“ONE Championship’s goal is to allow each athlete the opportunity to select a certified ONE Agent who has agreed to abide by specific rules and regulations in representing or advising athletes honestly, competently, loyally, and zealously.”
“The ONE Agent Certification strives to allow each athlete the opportunity to make better-informed decisions about their careers, empowering each athlete by making available a comprehensive disclosure of facts relevant to the ability of a professional to serve as a fiduciary representative or advisor, and by regulating the conduct of each individual engaged in the functions of an agent or advisor or in recruiting and providing services for athletes.”
Sityodtong also detailed the announcement on Twitter:
Effective immediately, ONE Championship has strengthened its Agent Certification to global standards similar to those of the top global sports media properties in the world such as NFL and MLB.— Chatri Sityodtong (@yodchatri) April 29, 2019
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The ONE Agent Certification was originally created to establish uniform standards of eligibility and conduct for all Agents, Managers, and/or Advisors seeking to work with ONE athletes.— Chatri Sityodtong (@yodchatri) April 29, 2019