April 2018 – Singapore: The finale of the first season of Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series, which took place Saturday, 31 March in Singapore, was recently concluded. After an exciting evening filled with thrilling bouts showcasing promising young talents, three winners of ONE Championship contracts were announced. Rockie Bactol, Woonkyum Kim, and Daesong Park all received USD $100,000+ ONE Championship contracts as overall winners of the reality documentary series.
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Rich Franklin, CEO of ONE Warrior Series, stated: “This event just proved that scouting is not a perfect science. While Rockie Bactol and Woonkyum Kim were both prospects in which I see promise, we initially passed on Daesong Park in the tryout process only for him to come back and blow us all away with his indomitable spirit. Congratulations to all three for earning their contracts in our first event, as well as JD Hardwick, Shahid Siddiqui and Faizan Khan on earning their Warrior Bonuses. Our first season was an incredible success and was a terrific experience for myself and the entire ONE Warrior Series team. Looking forward to doing it all again in the coming months.”
Jonathan Fong, Director and Co-Host of ONE Warrior Series, stated: “Our goal for ONE Warrior Series was to highlight Asia’s most promising young talent and to prove to the world that martial arts is more than just a sport in Asia, it’s a lifestyle. I believe we achieved that and so much more with the great group of guys we were able to work with in the first season. We would like to thank and congratulate all the warriors who competed in the inaugural ONE Warrior Series event. We saw an amazing night of competition from hungry competitors vying for their spot on the global stage.”
19-year-old Rockie Bactol, a Filipino martial arts prospect who lives and trains in Bangkok, first discovered martial arts to learn self-defense after experiencing childhood bullying. At the Season 1 Finale of Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series, Bactol turned in a spectacular performance, defeating opponent Mark Cuizon by first-round americana.
South Korean prospect Woonkyum Kim went through a troubled childhood after his parents got divorced at a young age. After discovering martial arts however, Kim was able to change his circumstances and now leads a life of discipline and honor. In the finale, Kim faced Sanjidul Islam, winning by first-round technical knockout.
Although impressive, South Korean prospect Daesong Park was initially passed on by the ONE Warrior Series judges in the January tryouts. However, he was selected as a late filler to compete against Eto Kimihiro, who was deemed as one of the top contestants. In the bout, Park overcame two illegal blows below the belt and an eyepoke to take victory in the first round by technical knockout.
In addition, athletes Shahid Siddiqui, JD Hardwick, and Faizan Khan each received a Warrior Bonus, a cash award of variable amount, for their incredible performances, displaying unbreakable will and perseverance through adversity.
Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series is a new travel series talent search which runs in 30-minute episodes. The show aims to discover new martial arts talent across Asia, providing promising young athletes with the platform to unleash their martial arts greatness. Franklin, who serves as the show’s host, travels across the Asian continent with co-host Jonathan Fong, searching for talent, experiencing local cultures and testing their boundaries.
Season 2 of Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series will begin filming later this year.