Chatri Sityodtong Reveals What Happened in Vitor Belfort Situation

Published 09/17/2021, 6:23 AM EDT


When legendary MMA fighter Vitor Belfort signed with ONE Championship in 2020, it was certainly the talk of the town. And upon joining the promotion, several matchups were shopped around to “The Phenom.”

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Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way anyone had planned, and Belfort was never able to step foot inside the Circle. In a recent interview with veteran journalist Ariel Helwani on his MMA Hour Youtube show, ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong finally shed light on the situation with Belfort.

“In a nutshell, Vitor joined ONE and we had this big vision that he was going to still be fighting in his prime. And I think he realized that he wanted these special fights. We wanted to put kind of a young lion – old lion storylines. We just could never see eye to eye,” Sityodtong said.

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“There was just a mismatch in terms of what he wanted and what we wanted, and we tried. Both sides tried really hard. He offered a lot of different opponents. We offered a lot of different opponents and we just never came together.”

Belfort has, of course, moved on from MMA altogether, choosing instead to pursue a boxing career of all things. Last weekend, he flattened former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield in one round, and has even called out Jake Paul.

Sityodtong says he harbors no ill feelings toward Belfort, and maintains the two keep a close relationship.

“Vitor [Belfort] and I are still quite close, we chat on WhatsApp. I wished him good luck for his fight with [Oscar] De La Hoya. And then the next day he switched to Evander [Holyfield]. But I’m super happy for Vitor,” Sityodtong said.

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“Vitor has a vision which is panning out, which is phenomenal. Hopefully, he fights Anderson Silva or he fights [Mike] Tyson or whoever’s next,” Sityodtong said.

That being said, Sityodtong reminded Belfort that the door was still open with ONE, if in case he does decide to return to MMA competition.

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“It was like ‘Chatri, I want to go,’ you know I don’t want to stop you. But I left the door open. I said, ‘look, Vitor, if you want to work with us again, no problem.’ I personally have a very strong relationship with Vitor,” Sityodtong said.

ONE Championship returns on Friday, 24 September with ONE: REVOLUTION, live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Christian Lee defends his ONE Lightweight World Title against Ok Rae Yoon in the main event.

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Varun Khanna

1334 articles

Starting off as a tennis author in 2018, Varun Khanna has gone on to contribute to EssentiallySports in various capacities. After setting up interviews with the likes of Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou, Alizé Cornet, and Noah Rubin, Varun is now part of all major ATP and WTA press conferences and has gone on to pen more than 1300 articles for EssentiallySports. He now heads the tennis and NBA division of the organization.

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