Unfortunately, things didn't exactly pan out for either side, and Belfort never got to compete in the Circle. ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong cleared the air on the Vitor situation in a recent interview on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.
"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.
"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."
Belfort has since moved on, and is now competing in lucrative celebrity-type boxing matches. He knocked out former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield via first-round TKO last weekend, and he's already called out Jake Paul.
"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," Sityodtong said.
"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 wished Belfort well and even threw out some names he would love to see "The Phenom" face.
"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.
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.
Published : September 23, 2021