After his departure with GLORY in 2018, Nieky Holzken was initially very pleased with the way ONE Championship treated him "It is the best experience of my whole career", but lately his feelings about ONE have been changing, "They are signing too many new guys and they are doing weird stuff with mixed rules fights, one round MMA, one round Kickboxing - I feel like it's becoming a freak show."
Holzken also revealed that he was asked to participate in the Openweight Grand Prix, however, he refused after hearing his paycheck would have been 75 percent lower than disclosed in his current contract. Two weeks after refusing to participate, the promotion called off his scheduled fight against former title challenger Arian Sadiković, which was supposed to take place on March 25 at ONE Fight Night 8. For Holzken's team, it's still a big question why ONE called off the fight. According to Holzken, ONE gave different reasons for the cancellation in email exchanges with his management, but none of them made sense to them: "It had something to do with the events in America, with anti-doping drug testing. But what does that have to do with my fight? They didn't give us an answer."
The Dutchman felt like he has been banned by ONE for refusing to participate, but to him, it just made more sense, "In my contract, I've got five fights for an undetermined time. It sounds very beautiful to get a million dollars for winning the tournament. But if I fight once with my normal payout, I earn more than for a single tournament fight. So with five fights, I also earn that million or perhaps even more".
Perhaps his harsh words helped him in the negotiations, cause surprisingly within 24 hours "The Natural" announced an upcoming fight on June 10 in Bangkok, Thailand.