The long-standing chairman of ONE FC, Chatri Sityodtong, has just been promoted to brown belt in BJJ after spending what he claims to be at least 2400 hours on the mats during his journey. The belt was presented to him by the former ONE FC Strawweight world champion Alex Silva in a nice callback to a similar moment in December 2017 when it was Sityodtong who presented Silva with the championship belt after he defeated Yoshitaka Naito by unanimous decision.
Sityodtong’s promotion isn’t entirely without precedent either as most of the main men at major MMA organizations have some kind of combat sports experience, Dana White has been open about only having some minor boxing experience in his youth before working as a boxercise coach. Bellator CEO Scott Coker is a veteran Tae Kwon Do practitioner and has earned an 8th degree black belt in the art, while RIZIN FF and former PRIDE main man Noboyuki Sakakibara has always had his experience lie in promoting rather than actual competing or training.
Sityodtong is pretty unique however as he is the one who has embraced grappling wholeheartedly and has even made an effort to involve high-level competitive grappling within ONE FC. Not only does he routinely sign high-level Jiu-Jitsu competitiors like Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida to make their MMA debut, but he also started to put in the groundwork for a full grappling arm of the organization with his signing of Gordon Ryan and the intent to create a world championship for the art.
Chatri Sityodtong announced the news of his brown belt promotion in a post to his official Instagram account, where he gave thanks to several elite Jiu-Jitsu competitors and coaches who have had an impact on his development in the sport: