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ONE Championship CEO and chairman Chatri Sityodtong speaks at a press conference ahead of ONE X in Singapore. Photos: ONE Championship

Exclusive | ONE Championship has new anti-doping partner, will drug test athletes at all events

  • Martial arts promotion will start testing athletes at next weekend’s double header of events in Singapore, including Amazon Prime Video debut
  • All athletes will be informed of the new policy via an internal memo, a copy of which the Post has seen

ONE Championship has a new anti-doping partner that will drug test all of its athletes, starting with next weekend’s double header of events at Singapore Indoor Stadium, a source has told the Post.

The martial arts promotion gets back to action in its home city with ONE 160 on the evening of August 26, before returning the following morning for its first event on Amazon Prime Video, which will be broadcast in prime time in the US the night before.

The arrangement will remain in place for all future events, the source said, with all athletes to be informed of the new policy via an internal memo, a copy of which the Post has seen.

ONE’s new drug testing partner, International Doping Tests & Management – a subsidiary of Drug Free Sport International – will “independently handle all testing for illegal substances”, according to the memo.

ONE has not publicly drug-tested its athletes before in its 11-year history, but reportedly planned to introduce World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standard testing in 2019.

“It is true that we began doing WADA testing actually last year,” ONE chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodong told a press conference in Manila in January 2019.

“Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson – one of the promotion’s most high-profile fighters – has previously claimed he has been tested behind the scenes, and that his samples were processed by WADA.

“People over in North America might think that everyone over in ONE Championship is on the juice. We get drug-tested. I got drug-tested two times,” the former UFC flyweight champion told Sherdog in 2019.

“I got tested Saturday at my last weigh-in, and then I got tested right after the fight. [They] took two samples, just like I did with USADA [United States Anti-Doping Agency], and they took it to the WADA labs.”

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Johnson’s former promotion, the UFC – where he defended his flyweight title a record 11 consecutive times before losing to Henry Cejudo in August 2018 – began an out-of-competition drug testing partnership with USADA in July 2015.

The 36-year-old American (27-4-1) signed for ONE two months after losing his title, and debuted in the promotion in March 2019, going on to win the flyweight Grand Prix and earning a crack at divisional champion Adriano Moraes.

The Brazilian beat Johnson by second-round TKO in a huge upset in April 2021. The pair will rematch for 33-year-old Moraes’ title in the main event of ONE on Prime Video 1.

Demetrious Johnson congratulates Adriano Moraes on defeating him in April 2021. The pair will rematch at ONE on Prime Video 1 in Singapore.

The first card on Amazon’s streaming service will also feature the semi-finals of the ONE flyweight Muay Thai Grand Prix, comprising Rodtang Jitmuangnon against Savvas Michael, and Superlek Kiatmoo9 taking on Walter Goncalves.

The ONE on Prime Video 1 co-main event will pit bantamweight Muay Thai champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao against British veteran Liam “The Hitman” Harrison.

The night before, the ONE 160 card will be headlined by a rematch between lightweight champion Ok Rae-yoon and Christian Lee, who surrendered his belt in September 2021 when a controversial unanimous decision went the South Korean’s way.

The ONE 160 co-main event will see Chinese knockout artist Tang Kai challenge Vietnamese-American featherweight champ Thanh Le.