I read the online hate from the keyboard warriors on the performances of Martin Nguyen, Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai / ชนนภัทร วิรัชชัย, and Stefer Rahardian at ONE: Reign of Kings this past weekend. There is simply no excuse for all of this hatred, bullying, and mockery. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan or not. It doesn’t matter if they are public figures or not. It doesn’t even matter if you like them or not. First and foremost, Martin, Shannon, and Stefer are human beings. Just like you and me. They are someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s husband/boyfriend, someone’s best friend. What if someone treated your dad, brother, son, or husband in that manner? How would you feel?
If you are a martial artist or a fighter, please don’t forget that Martin Nguyen, Shannon Cai, or Stefer Rahardian, is one of us. They are great fighters who simply did not have their night. It happens to all of us. We all know what it is like to train our asses off only to get smashed. We all know the love and dedication it takes to learn a kick, a punch, or a submission. We all know the blood, sweat, and tears that go into achieving a dream. Man, if anything, we should all be standing united, defending Martin, Shannon, and Stefer against all the haters who have never stepped into a martial arts school or a ring or a cage. Let’s stand up and applaud them for chasing their dreams fearlessly for the whole world to witness. Let’s join hands and educate the world about their extraordinary stories and incredible warrior spirits. Let’s unite about all the great things they have done in their lives due to the power of martial arts. Martial arts has made all of our lives better. Let’s not forget that Martin, Shannon, Stefer, or anyone else who lost in Manila is one of us. We are ONE.
Martin, Shannon, and Stefer are real-life superheroes. They have already contributed more to martial arts than 99% of the world has. They have inspired millions of people to unleash their greatness in life too. At the end of the day, Martin, Shannon, and Stefer went out on their shields the way true warriors do. They didn’t break. They didn’t show fear. They didn’t tap. They lost like champions, fighting with everything they had until the very end. As a fellow lifelong martial artist, I am proud of my brothers for representing us on the biggest global stage of martial arts in the world. Win or lose, they are inspirations to people all over the world. Thank you for representing and honoring all of us, Martin, Shannon, and Stefer! I am full of gratitude and appreciation that you are part of the ONE Championship family. #gratitude
In many ways, social media has become a sad reflection of humanity. Some people use it to post only the best aspect of their lives to show the world how great their life is. Others post beautiful photos of material things to show how wealthy or successful they are. And some even use social media to post things with the intention to harm others. Without a doubt, social media reveals the ugly side of human nature. If there is anything I have learned in life, it is that we all have the choice every day to focus on positive energy or negative energy in our lives. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, but we all still have the choice every day to do something positive and uplifting to inspire others. And no one’s life is perfect. We all struggle in one way or another. We all suffer from setbacks, problems, failures, mistakes, and obstacles. We all have people we like and people we don’t like. We all have good days and we all have bad days.
Life might be messy, but it doesn’t have to be ugly.
Thank you for elevating the sport we all love, Martin, Shannon, and Stefer. May you guys always be blessed with much love, happiness, success, and health. In my eyes, you are true champions. RESPECT!!! #WeAreONE
Chatri Sityodtong is a self-made entrepreneur and lifelong martial artist from Thailand. His rags-to-riches life story has inspired millions around the world on BBC News, CNN, Financial Times, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Channel NewsAsia, and other major media. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of ONE Championship, Asia’s largest global sports media property in history with a global broadcast to over 1.7 billion potential viewers across 136 countries around the world. Forbes most recently selected Sityodtong as one of Asia’s next generation tycoons. He was also named “Asia’s King of Martial Arts” by the Financial Times and the “3rd Most Powerful Person in Sports in Asia” by FOX Sports. He is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, Europe’s top business school. Sityodtong holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University.