Chatri Sityodtong, CEO of ONE Championship talks struggle, combat sports, and Qatari support 

Chatri Sityodtong, CEO of ONE Championship talks struggle, combat sports, and Qatari support 
Chatri Sityodtong, founder of ONE Championship, spoke to The New Arab about the martial arts platform that has taken the world by storm and about Qatar's vision for global sports.
3 min read
10 June, 2022
Founder and CEO of ONE Championship Chatri Sityodtong [Edwin Koo/Getty]

Chatri Sityodtong is founder, chairman and CEO of ONE Championship for Martial Arts, one of the most successful and popular combat sports platforms in the world. He spoke to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, about the struggles of his early life, his love of self-defence sports and their importance in his life, and the values they can teach human beings.

Sityodtong mentions ONE's partnership with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), and how the platform has developed in recent years. The recent agreement with Amazon proves it is on the right track to stay at the top, he says.

The journey has not been easy. Sityodtung recalls living on just $4 a day when he was at university, working at the same time to make ends meet. When the Asian financial crisis hit, his family lost all their money. However, he persevered, continuing his studies until he reached Wall Street.

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"I worked in Wall Street for 10 years, but the biggest failure in life is to be without happiness. I realised this once I had climbed to the top of the wrong mountain." This realisation led him to leave the lucrative career he had worked so hard for, and he decided to launch ONE Championship.

Sityodtong stressed more than once during his interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that martial arts are not violent sports, as some seem to think. He said: "They are a sport connected to Asian culture, a rich treasure, through which we spread the values of integrity, humility and respect. Millions of fathers in all corners of the world not just in Asia, have sent their children to self-defence courses, in order to learn courage, respect and a good work ethic."

The founder of ONE confirmed that the recent agreement with Amazon's Prime Video is a "big deal", pointing out that the Nielsen company for marketing research has ranked ONE Championship within the top 5 platforms for sports viewership and engagement globally.

Sityodtong visited Qatar's capital Doha, and expressed his gratitude to the QIA and the Qatari government. He called the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani a visionary leader. Qatar is at the forefront of global sports currently especially with the World Cup approaching, he says.  

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On the agreement signed with the QIA, he says: "We are looking forward to more, and to achieving great things with the Qatari government. Again – they have a very important vision with regard to sports, and I believe that together we will be able to promote champions from the Middle East, who will become stars, inspiring the world with hope."

To conclude, he stated that ONE Championship's overriding mission had always been to unleash real-life superheroes, and in doing so ignite a sense of hope and inspiration across the world.

"This is the reason we tell stories about how some of the world's greatest champions have overcome suffering, poverty and catastrophe to arrive at where they are today," he said.