KEY POINTS

  • ONE Championship's Chatri Sityodtong earns his brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu
  • Sityodtong says the feat in the grappling art is irreplaceable
  • Sityodtong credits his professors for setting a Brazilian jiu-jitsu milestone

Chatri Sityodtong marked yet another milestone in his lifelong martial arts journey.

Last Saturday, September 18, the ONE Championship chairman and CEO earned his brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), something that he described as irreplaceable.

The Thai-Japanese entrepreneur, who is now one step closer to ultimately getting his BJJ black belt, admitted it has never been an easy journey. However, he believes passion and dedication go a long way.

“By my rough calculation, I have spent at least 2,400 hours on the mats (if not more). It has been a long journey with many ups and downs (and injuries), but I would not change any of it,” Sityodtong wrote in his Facebook post.

“I have been submitted more times than I can remember. I have gone home discouraged more times than I care to admit. I have wanted to give up more times than I can count. For sure, I am not the most talented jiu-jitsu student, but my love for the gentle art is unbreakable.”

Sityodtong, who trains at Evolve MMA, received the brown belt via the Renzo Gracie Academy.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” Sityodtong clearly could not contain his emotion as BJJ professor Alex Silva wrapped the belt around his ONE Championship-branded gi.

He started training BJJ in 2005 at the Renzo Gracie Academy during his time in New York City. Two years later, he received his blue belt just before he relocated to Singapore.

For the next decade, the Black Belt Hall of Famer tried his hand at no-gi to allow him to gain a better understanding of grappling.

In 2018, he donned the gi once again and re-embarked on a mission to master the art.

Sityodtong’s hard work paid off, and in 2019, he earned a purple belt promotion from Evolve BJJ coach Leandro “Brodinho” Issa.

Balancing work and training is never easy, but what’s even more impressive is that he’s done all this while treating fans to back-to-back world-class events at ONE Championship.

Sityodtong conceded that he wouldn’t have achieved the feat had it not been for those who have had a major influence on his training.

The list includes his professors such as Rafael Lima, Teco Shinzato, Alex Silva, Issa, Almiro Barros, Gamal Hassan El Amin, Valdir Rodrigues, Eduardo Novaes, Guli Kozama, Rodrigo Marello, Thales Nakassu and Martin Hartono.

“Without each of you, I would not be here today,” he said.

Chatri Sityodtong ONE FC CEO Chatri Sityodtong says more surprises are in store for ONE FC fans in 2019. Photo: ONE Championship photo

“Each of you gave me a piece of your game and generously shared your love of the gentle art with me. You beat me up and made me suffer, but I am eternally grateful for all of the lessons on and off the mats,” Sityodtong added.

“It has not been easy, but it has been a truly extraordinary adventure. Martial arts is what I love. Martial arts is who I am.”

ONE Championship returns on Friday, September 24 with ONE: Revolution, live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Christian Lee defends his lightweight title against Ok Rae Yoon in the main event, while Joshua Pacio takes on Yosuke Saruta in a trilogy bout for the strawweight crown.