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‘Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series’ goes hunting for Asia’s next martial arts superstars

Former middleweight champ takes to the road in a new talent-spotting series for ONE Championship

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Former world middleweight champion Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin will hit the road in search of new stars for ONE Championship in a new series coming to TV and social media channels early in 2018.

Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series will see Franklin travel across Asia visiting gyms, accompanied by ONE’s in-house production team as he journeys throughout the continent on the hunt for the best undiscovered martial arts talents.

The best athletes uncovered during the series will be handed a six-figure contract to compete under the bright lights of Asia’s biggest MMA promotion, ONE Championship.

Scouting for talent: Rich Franklin takes to the road in a new series for ONE Championship (Pic: ONE Championship)

Scouting for talent: Rich Franklin takes to the road in a new series for ONE Championship (Pic: ONE Championship)

The new series was announced this week by Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship Chatri Sityodtong, who said: “I am pleased to announce Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series. At ONE Championship, one of our biggest missions is taking martial arts, Asia’s greatest cultural treasure, and placing it front and centre for the entire world to witness.

“One of the ways to do this is by developing local homegrown martial arts superheroes. We are excited to travel across Asia, visiting the most iconic cities, to discover the next big superstar.”

Former UFC middleweight champion Franklin became Vice President of ONE Championship back in April 2014 and is one of the main faces of the organisation. And the former MMA superstar says he’s looking forward to his continent-wide quest to find the next stars of ONE Championship.

“Asia is the hotbed of the industry’s top martial arts prospects. It comes as no surprise, since martial arts has been home to the region for the past 5,000 years,” he explained.

“Throughout my time in ONE Championship, I have been witness to some of the best martial arts talent I have ever seen. Stars today such as Angela Lee and Eduard Folayang came from the grassroots level of talent in Asia, and the next martial arts superstar is just waiting to be discovered.”

Singapore superstar: ONE atomweight world champion Angela Lee (Pic: ONE Championship)

Singapore superstar: ONE atomweight world champion Angela Lee (Pic: ONE Championship)

During the series Franklin will visit gyms across the continent, including Bangkok, Thailand; Manila, Philippines; Seoul, South Korea; Tokyo, Japan; and Beijing, China.

During his gym visits, athletes will get the opportunity to audition for the show as they go through a number of tests. If successful, they’ll be pitched into a trial exhibition contest, with the prize of a six-figure ONE Championship contract on the line.

It should deliver an exciting spectacle, as Franklin takes in the varied cultural experiences Asia has to offer while running the rule over the top up-and-coming talent in the continent.

ONE has already unearthed local stars such as Malaysia’s Agilan ‘Alligator’ Thani, Singapore’s Amir Khan and Thailand’s Shannon ‘OneShin’ Wiratchai. Now the hunt is on for the next generation of ONE stars.

Local hero: Malaysian middleweight star Agilan Thani (Pic: ONE Championship)

Local hero: Malaysian middleweight star Agilan Thani (Pic: ONE Championship)

“Follow me on this journey to showcase Asia’s greatest cultural treasure, and join me on the hunt to find ONE Championship’s new wave of superstars,” said Franklin.

Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series is scheduled to premiere in the first quarter of 2018.

To find out more, check out http://onefc.com/ows/register.

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 19 years’ experience in the UK's national media covering major sporting events including the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Olympic Games, UFC world title fights, The Grand National and The FA Cup Final.

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