Chatri Sityodtong explains Eddie Alvarez departure, says Nate Diaz deal ‘not our typical path’


ONE Championship is, of course, interested in high-profile free agents despite being “very, very selective” about who gets a contract. When CEO Chatri Sityodtong looks at past acquisitions (Eddie Alvarez) and present possibilities (Nate Diaz), maximizing value is his biggest concern.

Alvarez left ONE Championship to pursue his U.S. career. If Diaz wanted to join the Asia-based promotion’s ranks, Sityodtong told The MMA Hour, there would have to be a deal that put him to full use.

“Nate is an interesting person. He wants to try multiple sports and that platform is certainly the one,” Sityodtong stated. “When you look at [recent ONE acquisition] Roberto [Soldic], he says he wants to win multiple world titles in all the major disciplines, and he wants to be the greatest combat sports athlete ever.

“You have guys like Alistair Overeem who’ve been like a K-1 superstar … so I think having all in one platform, that’s kind of Roberto’s thing.

“Now, when I see Nate, it’s possible that he would be interested in that. He wants to try grappling or boxing. We’d definitely be open to it, however, this is not the typical path .”


Alvarez previously told The MMA Hour that his departure from ONE was pushed ahead by the pandemic, which stalled the promotion’s plans to venture stateside. Sityodtong said it was a simple business arrangement that had ended its course.

” I have nothing but love for Eddie,” he stated. He said, “It is just one of these things. In every situation you want it to be win-win. And if neither side wins, what’s the point?

“We had our problems, he had some issues but it was nothing that would cause us to be upset. I think he wants that one more big run in his career, and he’s at that stage, and obviously, he’s a legend, and it just wasn’t happening for us, as well, so I think both sides, we weren’t completely satisfied. But again, no hard feelings, it was amicable. It was just a phone call and we talked .

Gambles for international talent haven’t always been a success for ONE. Sityodtong was positive about the historic deal with UFC, which netted Demetrious Johnson pound-for-pound. He also touted Soldic’s choice to sign with the Asia-based promotion despite multiple offers from other parties.

“[For the UFC] to get a retired, injured Ben Askren, who I think was two years out of the game, and he retired, for D.J., who is still in his prime today as he proved a few weeks ago on Amazon on Prime 1,” Sityodtong said. “He’s the GOAT, so to have the GOAT in his prime, it’s amazing.”

Sityodtong hasn’t ruled out a move to the U.S., which could make ONE more attractive to certain free agents. The promotion has been establishing a foundation for an American move during the second quarter of 2023;. He spoke at the 2022 World Congress of Sports in support of the promotion’s international expansion goals. A broadcast deal with Amazon Prime has again put events more in reach for domestic MMA fans.

If a star like Diaz wanted to sign, or if the UFC or another big promotion wants to orchestrate another trade, it could only aid ONE’s mission. Sityodtong has been playing close to his vest so far.

“We had Roberto Soldic, who I think is literally the next big thing in combat sports,” he said. “But we’ve been hyper selective, and we will talk [to the UFC about trades], and it just hasn’t come up.”