“Mighty Mouse”Johnson left UFC for ONE Championship in 2018 and as part of his move became the face of their new esports venture.
The former UFC flyweight champion is a hardcore gamer, a Twitch streamer and has had a longstanding endorsement with Microsoft Xbox.
“Esports as a whole has come on leaps and bounds from when it first started,” Johnson told CNN Sport’s Patrick Snell.
“At the start, people were like ‘no one’s going to watch someone else play video games. It’s absolutely absurd. I’m not going to do it.’
“But now you have companies like Twitch and Mixer who are generating so much revenue with advertisement revenue from these amazing streamer personalities.
“A lot of One Championship’s fans are millennials and millennials love gaming. I love gaming so I was like ‘yeah I totally support this.'”
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A new market
While One Championship has become the “largest global sports media property in Asian history,” they have yet been able to transfer that dominance to the rest of the globe.
After returning to the iconic Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo in October for their 100th live event, One Championship is looking to penetrate the North America market.
The company has signed a three-year broadcast deal with TNT, meaning a portion of their shows are streamed on B/R Live, while plans are in place for a show in New York for 2020.
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“There’s the north American promotion, which is the UFC, and that is the king of the hill,” Johnson said.
“Then you have the Eastern side, which is One Championship, which is the king of the hill there.
“One Championship are more focused on telling stories. It’s the home of martial arts.
“It doesn’t just celebrate mixed martial arts, but also celebrates Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Summit Wrestling and they’ve even had a boxing match.”