ONE Championship, where Philippines’ Team Lakay is one of its most popular squads, is among the most followed sports media properties in the world, bigger even than its American counterpart Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC.
The Singapore-based ONE Championship is fourth in the list of 5,000 plus sports media properties in the world for online viewership for 2019 with 5.6 billion viewers, among which are the fights of Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Joshua Pacio, Geje Eustaquio, among others.
The four are with the Team Lakay, the Igorot fighters whose training gym is located at Benguet’s capital town in La Trinidad.
ONE Championship bested American counterpart UFC, which is home to mixed martial arts superstar Conor McGregor which raked in a total viewership of 3.8 billion.
Tubular Labs, the world’s biggest independent data and analytics provider of online media viewership, ranks the World Wrestling Entertainment as No. 1 with a viewership of 14.6 billion followed by the National Basketball Association with 10.3 billion and the National Football League at 6 billion.
The Union of European Football Association or UEFA, the European football (soccer) league follows the UFC closely at sixth with 3.7 billion. The International Cricket Council is at seventh with 2.8 billion followed closely by the English football squad Liverpool Football Club.
At ninth is the car racing Formula 1 which has a total viewership of 2.4 billion and at 10th is the English Premier League, England’s football (soccer) league, at 2.2 billion.
Two of the world’s biggest sports franchises, Manchester United (EPL) and FC Barcelona (La Liga or the Spanish football league), are even out of the top 10 and tied at 11-12 sports with 1.9 billion online viewership.
Top strawweight fighter Pacio had a stellar 2019 performance despite losing the belt at the start of the year with a loss to Yosuke Saruta via decision on January 19 after helping Team Lakay complete a four-belt performance in 2018.
Pacio bounced back with a fourth-round knockout in his rematch against Saruta in April 12, then finished the year with a victory over wushu sanda legend Rene Catalan.
Folayang, Belingon and Eustaquio lost their belts last year but Lito Adiwang has clearly made a name for himself as one of the players to watch in Asia’s top sports organization.
Team Lakay founder and head coach Mark Sangiao has clearly made his mark in ONE Championship where his team is arguably the most successful squad in terms of success with five players that have attained the title in their respective weight category.
Honorio Banario started Team Lakay’s domination by winning the inaugural ONE featherweight crown. Banario was last seen in ONE Championship’s last event for this year in Singapore on February 28 which was a closed event due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The event had no audience but was seen live online.*PNA
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