Over the past couple of weeks, fans may have noticed a new voice on some of ONE Championship’s televised broadcasts.
Famed Australian commentator Michael Schiavello joined the organization this past August, where he has been calling the action alongside former ONE athlete and current broadcast analyst Mitch “The Dragon” Chilson.
Schiavello has called matches for a plethora of martial arts promotions across the globe, and now following his decision to move back to Australia after six years in the United States, he has become the new voice of ONE Championship.
“I had been working for AXS TV since 2009, and moved to Las Vegas in 2011,” he explains, while also mentioning how a former colleague left the station to accept a role as the Senior Executive Producer at ONE.
“Eventually, my contract with AXS came to an end of June this year, and [ONE’s Senior Executive Producer] knew my time at AXS was up, and I had decided not to renew with AXS so I could come back home to Australia and raise my family.
“So he contacted me and said ‘Hey, would you now be interested in coming aboard and working with ONE Championship? We would really love to have you as part of the team.’”
The Aussie could not turn the offer down. In fact, Schiavello admits he “jumped at the opportunity”, and was excited to bring his signature enthusiastic technical commentary to the company’s legion of fans worldwide.
“I believe ONE Championship is the biggest and best martial arts promotion on the planet,” he admits. “Their shows are outstanding, their production is outstanding, their matches are outstanding, and their company model is outstanding, so I really wanted to be a part of that.”
In addition, there were some other reasons that made this opportunity so alluring.
“I wanted to challenge myself. ONE Championship is broadcast to 128 countries and potentially over one billion people, which is a much bigger audience than anything I was doing in the past, probably with the exception of the Olympic Games. So, I wanted to test myself and put myself in the biggest market possible,” he explains.
“It has also given me the opportunity to be able to still do a job I love, and do it at the very highest level for the biggest promotion in the world, but also to do it flying back and forth from Australia so I can raise my family at home. It was too good an opportunity for me to refuse.”
Schiavello’s first show with the promotion was on Saturday, 5 August, at ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS in Macao. The event featured two thrilling title bouts, and was an experience he described as probably the most intense show he has ever done.
“They are so dedicated to their product, and so particular about the product that they are broadcasting to 128 countries, that they want everything to be spot-on. I have never worked with a team that were at that level of perfectionism, that were really pushing myself and Mitch Chilson to make sure that everything we did was right. Everything was accurate,” he explains.
“I really respect ONE Championship for that, because of all the promotions and networks I have worked for around the world these last 21-22 years, I have not seen that level of dedication to making the product so polished.”
Having called sporting events across the globe for international networks such as Fox Sports and Sky, Schiavello is familiar with the special relationship Asia has with martial arts, and he feverishly wants to continue ONE Championship’s tradition of promoting martial arts in the continent that birthed it.
“Martial arts was Asia’s gift to the world, and I think the fact that there is a major promotion being able to harness this gift — this Asian treasure — to the Asian market, and over one billion people potentially, is a beautiful thing. And they are not deviating from that,” he says.
“They are not relying on cheap gimmicks, dirty press conferences, dirty interviews, or marketing dirty characters to push their product. There is no thug attitude there at all. It is all about the respect, honor, and integrity. I am thrilled to be a part of it, I really am. It is what martial arts is all about.”
The next broadcast Schiavello and Chilson will be featured on is ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI, which broadcasts from the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center on Saturday, 2 September. The promotion’s inaugural event in the Chinese metropolis will be headlined by a welterweight title showdown between defending champion Ben Askren and Zebaztian Kadestam.
Shanghai | 2 September | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | PPV: Official Livestream at oneppv.com