One Championship CEO shares how he survived on $5 a day at Harvard, says those days were ‘best of his life’, Lifestyle News

One Championship CEO shares how he survived on $5 a day at Harvard, says those days were ‘best of his life’, Lifestyle News

When looking back at one’s life, it’s pretty rare that anyone looks back fondly at the times when they were struggling and poor.

Unless you happen to be One Championship CEO 51-year-old Chatri Sityodtong.

In a Facebook post on Dec 17, the Thai-born combat sports entrepreneur and martial artist shared that during his days at Harvard, he was actually living in poverty.

So much so that Chatri “survived on US$4 (S$5) dollars a day”, and had to earn money by teaching martial arts, doing odd jobs, and taking out loans just to obtain his MBA.

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In fact, money was so tight that he used to keep track of his expense down to the “exact penny on a daily spreadsheet”. 

To make matters worse, Chatri was forced to share his tiny student dorm room with his mum in his second year because she “had nowhere else to live”. 

Chatri’s family fell on hard times when his parents went bankrupt in the Asian Financial Crisis back in the late nineties, he shared.

They lost everything — including their home — which resulted in Chatri’s father abandoning the family. 

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Back then, the Evolve MMA founder was so ashamed of his poverty that he kept it a secret at Harvard.

Today, however, Chatri looked back at that period of his life and proudly described it as “some of the best of my life”.

Cherishing the “innocence and purity” of his younger self chasing his dreams, he said that gave him an “unquenchable fire in [his] belly” to pull both he and his family out of poverty as well as fuelling his desire “to make a mark in this world”.

Adding on, Chatri also stated that “money has nothing to do with happiness” and urged those undergoing tough times to “work hard” and “never give up”.

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Many netizens were obviously touched by his Facebook post and thanked him for his inspirational story. 

One commenter even went so far to say that Chatri is the “living example that everything is possible”.

Others repeated Chatri’s rallying call to be hard-working and honest during tough times, saying that such human qualities will always be rewarded. 

Back in 2020, Chatri extended an invitation to Australian school boy Quaden Bayles to come to Singapore for an all-expenses paid mixed martial arts training trip.

He even offered to teach the nine-year-old – who was being bullied for his dwarfism at school – personally himself.

Last year, Chatri appeared as the main star in the Netflix reality series The Apprentice: One Championship edition. It won the Best Reality TV Series at the 2021 Asian Academy Awards.

timothywee@asiaone.com

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