ONE Championship CEO to fly bullied boy to SG to learn martial arts

Over the weekend, a nine-year-old Australian boy Quaden Bayles made headlines after a video uploaded by Bayles' mother showing Bayles crying due to being bullied at school, went viral. While The Straits Times reported that the video was watched more than 16 million times as of 21 February, it has since been taken down.

In response to the viral video, ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong extended an invitation to Bayles and his family to come to Singapore for an all-expenses-paid vacation, where the team will be providing martial arts lessons for Bayles at mixed-martial arts gym EVOLVE to "bully-proof" Bayles. Sityodtong posted a video online on his social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) directly addressing Bayles, telling him that he has "a friend out here in Asia".

Besides the all-expenses-paid vacation in Singapore, Sityodtong also said he wants Bayles to come to one of his events in the future to see the fighters at ONE Championship, hoping the fighters will inspire Bayles to stand tall among adversities. Sityodtong ended his video with a message to address all parents and children. "Let's stop this bullying. Let's be kind to one another. The world needs it now more than ever," he said.

Shortly after the video was posted, Sityodtong provided an update that the family has accepted his invitation.

The response video that Sityodtong saw netizens applauding Sityodtong calling him"wonderful", "compassionate", and "a truly great man".

ONE Championship has also uploaded a video on its Facebook page featuring different fighters addressing Bayles and sharing their stories about bullying. Captioned "We've got your back, Quaden" with the social hashtags "#BullyingMustStop", "#WeStandWithQuaden", and "#WeAreONE", the video which was uploaded yesterday has garnered approximately 6.8k reactions, 235 comments, and 1,000 shares at the time of writing.

Tarun Deo, managing director of Golin Singapore and SEA said the move certainly draws attention to the issue of bullying, but more needs to be done beyond a singular gesture to solve the problem. "The invite is certainly a good one as it will certainly make a huge difference to Bayles. This [issue] is certainly something ONE can explore from a purpose POV and build from," he said, adding:

"Given the business/sport that ONE Championship is in - this [stop to bullying] could and should be something that they support. Gestures such as this is important but having said that, are we doing enough to tackle this problem?"

Pamela Tor Das, managing director of LEWIS Singapore, added that social media has changed the way brands and personalities can engage with the public. Social media has enabled one to directly call out to someone to offer help or assistance.

"The lines between an individual’s personal or corporate branding are increasingly blurred. There are causes that individuals feel strongly about and want to support – and that support may see them leveraging the resources they have to give back in some way," she added.

In a quote provided to Marketing, Sityodtong said he will be training Bayles personally, along with the instructor team at EVOLVE. "I want to help this little boy because I want to use our power to help those who are powerless. It will help us bring attention to bullying too. Let's do everything we can to raise awareness and rally the world to come to Bayle's aid," he added.

Sityodtong was not the only one to post a response video. Australian actor Hugh Jackman has also posted an online video with the hashtag #BeKind, telling Bayles he has a friend in him and encouraging Bayles to stay strong.