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‘Dagi’ Arslanaliev (left) and Timofey Nastyukhin exchange punches at ONE: Winter Warriors

Exclusive | ONE Championship boss Chatri Sityodtong to award US$50,000 performance bonuses at every event – starting with ‘Dagi’ and Timofey Nastyukhin

  • Asian martial arts promotion’s CEO will reward minimum of one fighter and maximum of five on each show
  • New policy began with Winter Warriors barnburner between ‘Dagi’ Arslanaliev and Nastyukhin in December

ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong will be now be awarding US$50,000 performance bonuses at every event going forward, a source has told the Post.

A minimum of one bonus will be given out at each show, with a maximum of five awarded, based on fighters’ performances – and losers can win it too.

The Singapore-based martial arts promotion will put on its first card of 2022 with Friday’s ONE: Heavy Hitters event. But the new bonus policy is already in effect, the source said, having started at December’s Winter Warriors card.

Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev and Timofey Nastyukhin were the first recipients of the bonuses under the new system.

Chatri awarded both US$50,000 after their barnburner of a rematch, which was selected as ONE’s 2021 fight of the year by the organisation.

The 27-year-old Arslanaliev (9-2) – ranked No 2 in the lightweight division – came out on top at the Singapore Indoor Stadium with a third-round TKO of Nastyukhin, putting a brutal stop to what had been a bloody war in their second encounter.

ONE Championship best of 2021 MMA awards

The source said “gameness” – or fighting to finish every second of the fight – is the most important criteria for winning the award, hence Russian 32-year-old Nastyukhin (14-6) picking up a bonus even though he lost.

ONE boss Chatri has given out special bonuses to some of his organisation’s athletes in the past after particularly impressive performances, but did not previously have a fixed policy for awarding cash bonuses at every show until now.

Heavy Hitters will feature a six-fight main card – headlined by China’s Xiong Jingnan defending her strawweight title against Ayaka Miura – preceded by a six-fight lead card.

UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov will also be present, coaching in the corner of Saygid Izagakhmaev when his protégé takes on James Nakashima at lightweight.

China’s Meng Bo will also move up to strawweight to take on former title challenger Tiffany Teo.