Chatri Sityodtong Clears Air on Vitor Belfort Situation
ONE Championship made headlines in 2020 when it signed mixed martial arts legend Vitor Belfort. Plenty of amazing matchups awaited "The Phenom" in the Singapore-based martial arts promotion.
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.