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Meet Chatri Sityodtong: The One Man Martial Arts Empire

Chatri Sityodtong is the Founder and Chairman of ONE Championship, Asia’s largest sports media property with a global broadcast to over 1 billion homes in 118+ countries.

According to CNBC, ONE Championship is Asia’s largest sports media property with a global broadcast to 1 billion homes across 118 countries.

A self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur, Sityodtong owns stakes in real estate, sports, retail, technology, and media. Sityodtong’s businesses have been featured on CNN, ESPN, Star Sports, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, New York Times, Channel NewsAsia, Straits Times, Reuters, Fortune, Yahoo! Sports, MSN, Men’s Health, Shape, China Post, Times of India, Jakarta Globe, and other media publications around the world.

Sityodtong speaking of his inspiration and reasoning for creating One: “If you look at the history of sports in Asia, we’ve always only imported,” he says, pointing to the popularity of English football, US basketball and Formula One motor racing. “So I had a very simple thesis: I said, ‘Man, it’s time for Asia to have its own sports league — and Asia’s been the home of martial arts for 5,000 years.’”

Raised in Thailand, Sityodtong is of half-Thai, half-Japanese ethnicity. His family went through bankruptcy and his father eventually abandoned the family. At one point his family was homeless and Sityodtong “lived on one meal per day.” He graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Tufts University, and obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School at Harvard University in 1999.

Before leaving to study at Harvard University in the late 1990s, the Asian financial crisis struck and his family lost everything: their business, their money, even their home. Sityodtong says his mother, “through her love,” convinced him to go anyway, before finding enough money to fly over and live with him in his dorm. At his lowest point, he says, he had to survive on $4 a day.

“I was very lucky that there was a Korean buffet place nearby school,” Sityodtong says. “For a little over three dollars, I could have all I could eat, and so I would relish that moment. “Whenever I thought that things were at a low-point, there were tougher days and tougher days.”

Using the martial arts skills he learned growing up, Sityodtong began teaching Muay Thai on the side to earn more money for him and his mother.

Chatri started Muay Thai as a child under Kru Yodtong Senanan of Sityodtong Camp in Pattaya, Thailand. Kru Yodtong eventually gave Chatri the ring name, Yodchatri Sityodtong. A veteran of over 30 fights, Sityodtong’s last professional Muay Thai fight was in 2008 in Thailand. He is a certified senior Muay Thai instructor under Kru Yodtong Senanan of the Sityodtong Camp in Pattaya, Thailand. Before his death, Kru Yodtong appointed Chatri Sityodtong as one of 4 conservators of Sityodtong Muay Thai in the world.

You can see some highlights of One Championship below – be warned though, its not for the faint hearted:

Written by Neilers

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