ONE Championship responded to welterweight fighter Sage Northcutt’s recent accusations concerning his withdrawal from a scheduled bout at ONE 165. Northcutt was slated to face Shinya Aoki on the main card of the event but withdrew due to reported visa issues for his cornermen.
According to ONE Championship head Chatri Sityodtong, alternate arrangements were offered for Northcutt’s corner, which he declined. Northcutt disputed these claims, attributing the situation to ONE Championship’s mishandling of visa paperwork.
In an Instagram post, Northcutt outlined his version of events, stating that he provided the necessary documentation for his coaches’ visas well in advance. He alleged that he was only informed of the visa issues hours before the fight and criticized ONE Championship for their handling of the situation.
Northcutt expressed concern over the potential consequences for his coaches and emphasized his insistence on having his full coaching team present for the fight. He also hinted at broader concerns with ONE Championship, including drug testing, weight-cutting policies, and the organization’s stability.
In response, ONE Championship released a statement acknowledging the visa-related issues that affected Northcutt and other athletes at ONE 165. They attributed these issues to changes in visa requirements and assured compliance with local laws.
The organization expressed regret over the misunderstanding with Northcutt and hoped to resolve the situation amicably.
Despite the controversy, ONE Championship affirmed its appreciation for Northcutt’s partnership and emphasized its commitment to athletes’ well-being. They characterized the incident as isolated, considering their track record of successfully managing similar situations.
As for Northcutt’s future with ONE Championship, it remains uncertain. While the organization expressed a desire to resolve the matter, whether Northcutt will return to compete under their banner is yet to be determined.