VICTOR Cui, the founder and CEO of Singapore-based One Fighting Championship (One FC), knows a winning formula when he sees one. Toss a couple of the best mixed martial artists from around the world into an imposing, 2.8 metre-tall steel cage and let them slug it out for glory and championship belts.
There are grunts, there are screams, there is bloodshed on occasion. The winner celebrates unabashedly while the loser is usually knocked out cold on the canvas, left to lick his many wounds.
Each of the One FC shows last year, held in cities around the region, including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Manila, were sold out and had fans clamouring for more at the end.
But Mr Cui doesn't just put on any ordinary show. His team dresses the arena up with bright lights and pyrotechnics. There is a massive screen that brings the fast-paced action up close even to those sitting high up in Row Z.
Even the fighters' entrances are carefully orchestrated, from the catchy theme music to the highly energetic manner the announcers introduce them to the audience.
It's a very Las Vegas-esque style of sports entertainment that many in this part of the world have not had the chance to see "live" - until recently. According to One FC's official website, mixed martial arts - or MMA - "combines the excitement of a prize fight, the athleticism of the Olympics, the tradition of martial arts, and the adrenaline of a rock concert".
And of course, the presence of some sexy One FC girls at ringside rarely fails to get the hearts of every hot-blooded male in the audience racing that much faster, too. Tonight, the 16,000-seater Stadium Putra in KL will host One FC's first major event of the year, with a full house set to savour several hours of action, including the organisation's first featherweight world championship match featuring two fighters from the Philippines.
This year's 12 events are all confirmed and the plan is to have double that number in 2014, with One FC making inroads into countries such as China and India. The next time One FC comes to Singapore will be on April 5.
Speaking to BT Weekend ahead of the big fight in the Malaysian capital this evening, Canada-born Mr Cui says that, in all his 16 years working in the sports media industry, he is floored by the vast opportunities that MMA presents, especially in Asia.
"At every media conference, sport industry network summit and speaking opportunity I've been to, we get the same feedback on how mixed martial arts is the only sport in Asia that has the possibility for exponential growth," he says.
Mr Cui shares how One FC has already signed 90 per cent of the top Asian fighters and champions to exclusive contracts, with more emerging stars and established names in the pipeline.
There is even an entire department in the organisation that takes care of the athletes' needs, everything from their schedules, fight opportunities, celebrity appearances and acting jobs.
"Our One FC fighters are quickly growing into superstars in their own right, with huge fan followings and new sponsor deals and even government support," he says.
Some of the prized catches Mr Cui has helped lure over to his camp include Shinya Aoki, a 29-year-old Japanese star who headlined One FC's last event in Singapore last October. On that day, he made quick work of Arnaud Lepont in a lightweight super fight, defeating the Frenchman via submission in just 85 seconds.
At that event, Singaporean fans also got the chance to cheer on their very own fighter named Bruce Loh, a certified Muay Thai instructor and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Although he ultimately came up short against Malaysia's Gianni Subba in their fight, Loh left the arena to raucous applause for his effort.
Many global companies are also jumping on board the MMA bandwagon with One FC. Among its sponsors are the likes of Sony, AirAsia's Tune Talk, Schick, Energiser and Carl's Jr.
"One FC is shown all year long on television around the world and this presents a huge branding opportunity for a sponsor. We've been lucky to have some of the biggest brands in the world working with us," says Mr Cui.
Looking ahead, he remains confident that One FC's rapid expansion will cement its position as Asia's largest mixed martial arts organisation.
"We will continue to deliver bigger events, go to bigger stadiums, visit more cities and grow new champions. This is going to be an unbelievable growth period for the sport," he says.