Seth Wheeler

Seth Wheeler attempts an arm bar against Ian Miller.

Ringside Unified Fighting, also known as RUF MMA, has signed a content-licensing deal with ONE Championship, a Singapore mixed martial arts promotion company.

Based in Goodyear, the company is a Native American-owned MMA group that runs events throughout the state. RUF MMA is now in position to gain worldwide viewership so fighters can make a name for themselves.  

“It enables us, as a local level promotion, to step into direct competition with global organizations,” said RUF MMA Fighter Relations Director Jason Martinez. 

“It’s a win not only for our promotion but also for our fighters, who are really hungry and want to turn pro.”

Last February, the Glendale Civic Center hosted the sold-out RUF 38 tournament. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many events were canceled or postponed.

While the pandemic paused the company’s growth, Martinez acknowledged this deal with ONE Championship will create new opportunities for RUF MMA and the athletes.

“We have grown this organically from a local level,” Martinez said. “We’ve gone from amateur fight promotion to partnering with the largest MMA global organization.”

The deal is set to increase RUF MMA’s audience, as ONE Championship has a partnership with Turner Sports. The first U.S.-based promotion for ONE Championship, RUF MMA will see its content on various Turner Sports platforms. This puts it in direct competition with other promotions like UFC.

Martinez said this opportunity for RUF MMA is the very first U.S.-based promotion for ONE Championship. This would allow ONE Championship their first opportunity to establish a foothold in the American market, resulting in direct competition with other promotions like the UFC.

“We have effectively become the only U.S. recruiting promotion for ONE Championship,” Martinez said. “They want to give the UFC direct competition because they are going to get their shows put on TNT very soon.”

For those at RUF MMA, there were times exposure seemed uncertain. Now, the entire world is ready to view and purchase their product. 

RUF MMA will host the “Road to ONE Live” tournament from the Glendale Civic Center on Saturday, March 13. The event is pay-per-view only, and the winner is guaranteed to receive a $100,000 contract to fight for ONE Championship in Singapore. Visit rufmma.net for information.

“We have pivoted and focused on this online streaming world,” Martinez said. “This partnership and the online streaming deal will give us so many more eyeballs on our product and our fighters that it will benefit everybody.”