ONE chairman Chatri Sityodtong on Folayang: He is the hero that we look for

MACAU—Although mixed martial arts fighters show brute force and flaunt their specific combat skills inside the steel cage, ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong insists that what separates the fastest-growing sports organization from the rest is its commitment to stick to time-tested Asian values.

by Richard Dy

Citing world lightweight champion Eduard Folayang as an example, Sityodtong maintained that the Filipino warrior may be fierce during fight night, but is a completely disciplined and humble athlete outside the cage.

“I think when you look at Eduard Folayang, his life story is very much like Manny Pacquiao. His personality is like, he’s very humble and gentle. Yes, he’s a fierce lion in the cage but outside of it, you never know he’s an athlete because he’s gentle,” Sityodtong told media men in a pre-fight presser at the Holiday Inn.

“His life story is inspirational, his courage and strength and he is the hero that we look for.”

Folayang is one of the biggest names in ONE Championship today, having successfully defended his world lightweight title after hammering out a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over Malaysian challenger Ev Ting last April at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines.

With MMA being embraced positively in the Philippines, Sityodtong, who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, said they already lined up 4 major events for 2018.

“We are planning 4 events in the Philippines next year. We’ve always done 1 or 2, but next year, we’ll have a record no. of events in the Philippines,” shared the ONE Championship chief.

“Having the highest rated MMA event in the history of the Philippines, actually one of the higgest rated  in all sports, full stop including the NBA and PBA,.”

The ONE Championship big boss said no matter how people may view the fights, Sotyodtong stressed that in the end, they put premium on time-tested Asian values over money.

“Every global organization will have its flavor. Some people are chasing money, irrespective of value and the impact to society, to children and the future, in terms of what they are really doing,” explained the Thai CEO and Chairman of ONE.

“But if you only focus on the fight, focus on violence, disrespect, hatred, controversy, that is not martials arts, but that’s fighting and violence.  That is nothing more than a thug street fight because Asia’s martial arts is not just physical.  But it’s physical, emotional, spiritual, values, and values are enduring, so 5,000 years of history and Asian values are still coveted in the same way they did 5,000 years ago.”

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