Vitor Belfort is no doubt one of the most recognizable names in mixed martial arts. The Brazilian legend made headlines when he joined ONE Championship in 2020. Unfortunately, he was never able to suit up for the circle, and he has since moved on.
ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong revealed in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that, in the end, the stars just didn't align for the promotion and for Belfort:
“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, but we just could never see eye-to-eye,” Sityodtong said.
“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.”
Vitor Belfort has now moved on to boxing
Sityodtong maintains that his relationship with Belfort remains amicable as he still regularly talks to him and even wished him good in this new foray.
Belfort fought and knocked out heavyweight boxing legend Evander Holyfield in the first round last weekend. 'The Phenom' has gone the route of novelty boxing matches, which is all the rage at the moment. He’s already called out Jake Paul:
"Vitor and I are still quite close, we chat on WhatsApp. I wished him good luck for his fight with De La Hoya. And then the next day he switched to Evander. But I’m super happy for Vitor," Sityodtong said.
"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 insists that if Belfort someday wants to knock on MMA’s door again for one last go, ONE will still be there waiting for him:
"It was like 'Chatri, I want to go,' and you know I don’t want to stop you. But I left the door open," he said. "I said, 'Look, Vitor. If you want to work with us again, no problem.' I personally have a very strong relationship with Vitor."
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.