Wrestling & MMA

Inspirational Chatri Sityodtong talks ONE Championship and U.S. expansion via Turner Sports

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Rosa Jackson community center is now offering Karate classes for neighborhood youth 6 and older. These lessons are being taught by ninth degree black belt Henry Surber.
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Rosa Jackson community center is now offering Karate classes for neighborhood youth 6 and older. These lessons are being taught by ninth degree black belt Henry Surber.

Chatri Sityodtong is somewhat of a superhero, but his focus is not on himself but rather branding others as superheroes — fighters/people who can change the world by inspiring while displaying integrity, morality and respect.

Chatri Sityodtong, also an inspiration, is founder, chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, Asia’s largest global sports media property ever, with the ability to broadcast its brand of fighting styles to more than 2.6 billion potential viewers across 140-plus countries, including its recent expansion into the United States.

The Singapore-based top mixed martial arts, Muay Thai, kickboxing, boxing, and grappling promotion launched on July 14, 2011, by Sityodtong and former ESPN Star Sports senior executive Victor Cui.

Here is my audio interview with Sityodtong and ONE Championship.

He discusses ONE Championship, superheroes, values, U.S. expansion, making a difference, respect, AEW, WWE, UFC, his journey, The Rock and more.

ONE Championship is a celebration of Asia’s greatest cultural treasure and its deep-rooted Asian values of integrity, humility, honor, respect, courage, discipline and compassion. Through the power of media and the magic of storytelling, ONE Championship is on a mission to unleash real-life superheroes, celebrate values, ignite dreams, inspire nations and change the world.

Sityodtong said: “I’ll give you an example. Our hero of Myanmar, Aung La N Sang, he is the middleweight champion as well as the light heavyweight champion in ONE Championship. He literally unites 54 million people around his life story, around his achievements, around his life values.

“Myanmar [also known as Burma in Southeast Asia] is a country historically that has had tremendous civil strife and civil wars, but every Myanmar person can agree that Aung is a hero, and every Myanmar person is proud and uses his life story — an incredible life story — for inspiration for their own views to make a better country.”

Sityodtong is making a difference, too. He is a self-made entrepreneur and lifelong martial artist from Thailand.

Growing up poor with a single mom, his rags-to-riches life story has inspired millions around the world on BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC, and other major media. Most recently, Forbes selected Sityodtong as one of Asia’s next-generation tycoons. Sityodtong was also named “Asia’s King of Martial Arts” by Financial Times, and Asia’s 3rd Most Powerful Person In Sports by FOX Sports.

He is also a perennial keynote speaker at the world’s top business conferences like the Forbes Global CEO Conference, Milken Institute, CNBC Asia Business Leaders Awards, Bloomberg Summit, YPO Edge, Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), Cannes Lions, Asian Leadership Conference, and others. Sityodtong has been featured as the cover story for magazines such as Inc, Esquire, Playboy, CEO, Wealth, Tatler, The Peak, Millionaire Asia, Black Belt, and more. He is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, one of the world’s top business schools.

With more than 35 years of martial arts experience as a student, a fighter, a teacher, and a coach, Sityodtong is a certified senior Muay Thai instructor under the legendary Kru Yodtong Senanan of the world-renowned Sityodtong Gym in Thailand. He also holds a Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Master Renzo Gracie.

“I’m a lifelong martial artist. I’ve been doing it for over 35 years. I still train every day,” Sityodtong, 47, said. “I’ve been a student, a fighter, a teacher, a coach and now a CEO.”

There is no trash talking, taunting, vulgar language, cheap shots, nor garbage can throwing in ONE Championship.

He explained: “I felt the West was misportraying what real martial arts is truly about... With a 5,000-year history here in Asia, as being the birthplace of martial arts, I want to showcase the very best not only of martial arts but also the very best of humanity. Because at the end of the day — any martial artist will tell you — one of the biggest benefits of martial arts is that you inherit integrity, humility, honor, respect, courage, passion, discipline from all these thousands of hours of training in martial arts.”

“So, yes, there is a physical element of martial arts with the beautiful kicks and the punches and artistry, but there is a deeper meaning of martial arts, which basically is unleashing greatness in human beings by instilling these incredible values. This is what ONE Championship is about.”

On the business side, Sityodtong holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University.

Turner Sports the ONE

Turner Sports reached a three-year partnership with ONE Championship™ (ONE), the world’s largest martial arts organization and the biggest global sports media property in Asian history, to distribute its live event coverage in the United States.

B/R Live – Turner’s live sports streaming service – is the primary destination for ONE Championship™ live events each year. B/R Live presented its first live ONE Championship event in January, with 24 overall events scheduled in 2019.

In addition, B/R Live is offering fans highlights and video content capturing the best moments from live events.

TNT is televising 12 episodes of one-hour re-airs of ONE Championship events in 2019.

Plans are underway to also conduct shows in the United States.

“Most definitely,” Sityodtong said. “We have been in high-level discussions with Turner senior executives. They see massive potential in ONE Championship and our partnership to really do something big in the U.S.

“I’ll just say, ‘Stay tuned,’ but definitely we are on track to promoting our first event in the U.S. next year.”

With the move West, ONE Championship added fighters Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez and “Super” Sage Northcutt to the roster. Plus, former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin and former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Meisha Tate signed with ONE Championship in an executive role as vice presidents.

Sityodtong surrounds himself with good people (East and West), who uphold the spirit of ONE Championship.

Upcoming ONE Championship schedule on TNT

Friday, Aug. 16 from Bangkok, Thailand.

Sunday, Oct. 13 (historic 100th show) from Tokyo.

Friday, Nov. 8 from Manila, Phillipines.

Friday, Nov. 22 from Singapore.

Sunday, Dec. 15 from Shanghai, China.

B/R Live is available at https://live.bleacherreport.com by downloading the B/R Live app through iTunes or Google Play; and/or Apple TV, the Roku platform and Amazon Fire TV.

For updates on ONE Championship, follow on Twitter and Instagram @ONEChampionship, and like on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ONEChampionship.

For the web site click: https://www.onefc.com/.

ONE Championship also has a 10-year broadcast deal with Fox Sports Asia (formerly known as ESPN Star Sports).

October history making, and that’s The Truth

Filipino-American Brandon The Truth Vera will return to action in October for the epic ONE: CENTURY in Tokyo, Japan, as he attempts to make history by becoming a two-division World Champion.

On Sunday, Oct. 13, the 41-year-old standout from Manila will challenge Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang for his ONE Light Heavyweight World Title at the historic Ryogku Kokugikan.

This marks a milestone for ONE Championship, its 100th show.

The Truth spoke to The Rock Dwayne Johnson, who was promoting his movie “Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw.”

Click this link: WatchTheTruthAndTheRock

That long-awaited match-up (Vera vs. N Sang) will be part of a stacked card that will also feature “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan vs. “Unstoppable” Angela Lee II for the ONE Atomweight World Championship and Bibiano “ The Flash” Fernandes vs. Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon IV for the ONE Bantamweight World Title.

Click this link: ONEChampionship100Promo

On Oct. 5-6, there will be a ONE Martial Arts Fan Fest to ready fans for the event.

The two-day affair will be the first of its kind, combining the very best of martial arts, fighting games esports, meet-and-greets, workouts, special merch and more.

For info click this link: https://www.onefc.com/events/one-martial-arts-fan-fest/.

About ONE Championship

ONE Championship (ONE) is the largest global sports media property in Asian history and the largest producer of millennial live sports content in Asia.

Headquartered in Singapore, ONE is the home of Martial Arts and is the world’s largest martial arts organization, hosting bouts across all styles of martial arts such as Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Karate, Kung Fu, Silat, Sanda, Lethwei, Mixed Martial Arts, Tae Kwon Do, Submission Grappling, and more.

ONE hosts the biggest sports entertainment events across Asia, featuring some of the world’s best martial artists and world champions on the largest global media broadcast in Asia.

ONE eSports, a subsidiary of ONE Championship, runs Asia’s largest global eSports Championship Series with some of the biggest blockbuster game titles in the world.

In addition to its digital platforms, ONE Championship broadcasts to over 1.7 billion potential viewers across 138 countries with some of the largest global broadcasters, including Fox Sports, ABS-CBN, Astro, ClaroSports, Bandsports, Startimes, Premier Sports, Thairath TV, Skynet, Mediacorp, OSN, Great Sports, Tencent, and more.

For more updates on ONE Championship, visit www.onefc.com, follow on Twitter and Instagram @ONEChampionship, and like on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ONEChampionship.

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Jim Varsallone covers pro wrestling, something he’s done since his college days in the late 1980s. Spanning four decades, he currently covers WWE (Raw, SmackDown and NXT), Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, MLW, WOW, FSCW, AEW and the South Florida indies. He also writes MMA -- mostly profile stories and video interviews with American Top Team talent in South Florida. As for pro wrestling, he writes feature stories and profile pieces, updates upcoming show schedules in South Florida, photographs the action and interviews talent (audio and video) -- sharing the content here and via social media on his Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel).
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