07 Feb 2017
Checking in with One Championship
Mixed martial arts group eyes IPOTopics:
Photo by Yen Meng Jiin
As a student at HBS, Chatri Sityodtong (MBA 1999) lived on four dollars a day, teaching the martial arts discipline of Muay Thai and sending the extra cash home to his mother and brother in Bangkok. “Everything I owned could fit into a single suitcase,” he recently told the Business Times of Singapore.
Then his fortunes changed, a dramatic turnaround documented in this Bulletin profile. After founding and selling a startup with two HBS classmates, Sityodtong headed to Wall Street, working for several large investment funds before launching his own. A multimillionaire by his late 30s, he was “successful” on paper but not in his heart. After realizing his real passion was for martial arts, Sityodtong launched Evolve MMA, a mixed martial arts gym with three branches in Singapore. Out of that enterprise came One Championship, a sports and media organization that stages MMA events across Asia, with stops ranging from Kuala Lumpur to Manila to Beijing. In July, Heliconia Capital Management invested an undisclosed eight-figure sum in the business, which Sityodtong hopes to take public.
“One of the many life lessons I picked up from my teacher in Thailand is that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but whether you have given it your all and you fought with all your heart,” Sityodtong said. “So long as you’ve done that, then you’ve accomplished your goals.”
Class of MBA 1999, Section A