ONE Championship issues statement following recent accusations from Sage Northcutt

By Chris Taylor - February 10, 2024

ONE Championship has issued a statement following the recent accusations made by welterweight fighter Sage Northcutt.

Sage Northcutt, ONE Championship, MMA

Northcutt (12-3 MMA) was supposed to fight Shinya Aoki on the main card of last month’s ONE 165 event. However, during the event itself it was announced that Northcutt had pulled out of the contest because his cornermen were reportedly denied visas.

ONE Championship head Chatri Sityodtong later said that they offered others to corner Sage Northcutt, but the American didn’t want to fight.

Taking to his Instagram, Sage Northcutt fired back at those reports and claimed it was all ONE Championship’s fault.

“One Championship is implying that I pulled out of the Shinya fight for unforeseen circumstances. That is completely inaccurate. I sent One Championship the necessary paperwork they required to get my coaches visas 48 days ahead of the event. I was told by them over the phone and by text my main jujitsu coach Fabio Prado did not need a visa since I paid for his airfare flights and trip so he was not classified as a working employee that needed a visa and that my other coach could get in as a tourist so he didn’t need one either,” Sage Northcutt wrote.

“My coaches were there for almost a week, and I was not informed that two of them could not coach until hours before my match. I received a text from an unknown number that texted me for the first time that day that was a ticket salesman asking me about getting my two coaches complimentary tickets to watch my fight in the audience. I personally believe that One Championship was not going to inform me that my coaches were not allowed to corner me until I arrived at the arena to fight if I did not hear from a ticket salesman hours earlier. We were also told hours before my match that if my coaches violated the visa requirements and were caught on camera, they could be arrested and there was a 99.8% conviction rate on all arrests.”

Sage Northcutt continued:

“I made it clear to One Championship that I was not flying from America to Japan if I didn’t have my three coaches. I was told before I left to Japan by an executive that I would not have to fight without my coaches. They knew before I left that I would not be able to have two of my coaches. They never told me my coaches could be thrown in prison for any visa violation. There has been a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes with One Championship with what caused me to withdraw from my last fight as well as other things that I will talk about at a later time on Facebook, Instagram, and with media outlets.
• drug testing
• weight cutting/ policies
• active athletes/ roster
• One’s stability… etc.”

Chatri Sityodtong

ONE Championship has since issued a statement regarding Sage Northcutt’s claims which reads as follows:

“ONE Championship empathizes with Sage Northcutt in regard to the situation he faced at ONE 165, where two of his coaches were not allowed to corner him, leading to his withdrawal from the event.

“Due to a change in external guidance from a third-party visa consultancy on Certificate of Eligibility (COE) requirements for all cornermen at ONE 165, there were work visa processing issues leading up to the event, which unfortunately impacted multiple athletes.

“The ONE team communicated the ongoing issues to our athletes and their management, but there was clearly a misunderstanding with the options presented to Sage and his team.

“Despite his recent comments, ONE values Sage’s partnership on a personal and professional level, and we hope that we can resolve this situation amicably.

“We also hope our athletes understand that we were acting in their best interest in being 100% compliant with local laws, and that this was an isolated incident given our track record of successfully flying in athletes and their cornermen for hundreds of global events.”

Do you think we will see Sage Northcutt back competing under the ONE Championship fight banner?


ONE Championship Sage Northcutt