EXCLUSIVE | Chatri Sityodtong Responds To Dana White Comments On DJ vs. Rodtang

Chatri Sityodtong
Mandatory Credit: ONE Championship & Mike Roach - Zuffa LLC

ONE Championship leader, Chatri Sityodtong has given his response following recent comments made by UFC president, Dana White in relation to the upcoming special rules showdown between former UFC flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson and Muay Thai ace, Rodtang Jitmuangnon on December 5. 

Sityodtong, the CEO of Singapore-based organization, ONE Championship, confirmed recently that Johnson, a former flyweight champion under the UFC’s banner as well as the 2019 ONE Flyweight Grand-Prix champion, would match with current flyweight Muay Thai champion, Rodtang in a four round special rules clash in a headlining tilt at ONE X.

Rounds number one and three will take place under the ONE Muay Thai ruleset, whilst the second and fourth, and final round will take place under the ONE MMA ruleset.

Much has been made regarding the almost hybrid showcase between Johnson and Rodtang, however, the aforenoted, White believes ONE Championship is attempting to throw the “kitchen sink” in a bid to stop “bleeding money“.

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I just think that mixing those things up is weird and won’t work,” White told assembled media following the Contender Series this week. “But if you have a company and you’re bleeding money, you start throwing the kitchen sink at the thing.

Speaking with LowKick MMA reporter, Michael Clifton, ONE Championship head-honcho, Sityodtong explained the reasoning behind the matchup, claiming that the promotion wanted to make something “unique“.

We (ONE Championship) wanted to do something very unique and special for our ten-year anniversary and do something that was out of the box, crazy — and at the same time, really bring out the very best of these two GOATs,” Chatri Sityodtong said. 

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In regards to those prior comments made by White, Sityodtong claimed that the promotional leader didn’t know anything about the sport of Muay Thai. 

I respect Dana (White); he is obviously a great fight promoter, but he doesn’t know anything about Muay Thai,” Sityodtong said. “I think this is one for the ages. It’s going to be very like the glory days of PRIDE which I would argue to this day, still has the hearts of minds of every hardcore MMA fan, and this kind of fight has this feel to it.

Given the special rules nature of the upcoming clash of Johnson and Rodtang, Sityodtong believes the unique sanctioned bout allows both sides to utilise their best tools over the course of the entire contest.

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Oftentimes we will see in Western MMA is lay and pray, you will take someone down and just hold; that is not real martial arts to me; that’s a rule-based game,” Sityodtong said. “Real martial arts is about I have a skill set, and my job is to finish him or her, and so its a really intriguing fight; even more as a fight fan, I am just grateful that DJ and Rodtang are super excited to face each other in the prime of their careers and yet given each other a rule set that allows each other’s strengths to play out.

Are you as excited as Chatri Sityodtong about Demetrious Johnson vs. Rodtang?