Asian MMA behemoths ONE Championship have announced the launch of a unique new martial arts league they believe will pave new pathways for professional fighters.
The "Super Series" is intended to showcase the variety of disciplines on offer across the continent, including the likes of Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Wushu, and Lethwei, while pitting them against each other in style vs style clashes united under one set of weight divisions.
The fights will initially be incorporated as part of their existing live MMA shows, with a long-term view to being part of exclusive stand-alone events of their own.
"The idea is to really be able to celebrate all martial arts, not just one sliver of martial arts," ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chartri Sityodtong told Newshub.
"Basically, it's a just gathering of the world's greatest strikers, irrespective of art."
The fighters will be able to select from a variety of both ring and cage rule sets under which they wish to compete, depending on the match-up.
"It's a big, big game changer for the world of martial arts because we're going to have the best fighters in the world, and it's going to be inter-disciplinary. So you'll see Muay Thai vs Tae Kwon Do, Tae Kwon Do vs Karate, Karate vs Karate etc.
"If you're a Tae Kwon Do fighter maybe you want to fight in a cage so you have more room to move, or if you're a Muay Thai guy maybe you prefer a ring so you can hunt someone down and get into a clinch.
A host of world championship calibre kickboxers are among the competition's first batch of signees, among them Fabio Pinca and Alain Ngalani. More fighters from across the range of disciplines on offer are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
"We've earned our reputation as the home of martial arts globally, and I see it as an extension of what we're already doing. We want the fans to be able to see everything, not just the MMA," Sityodtong adds.
The concept will make its debut at the ONE: Heroes of Honour show in Manila in April, with a caged kickboxing duel between two prolific fighters in highly-decorated Italian Giorgio Petrosyan and "Smokin" Jo Nattawaut, a former Lion Fight champion.