Before I Was Boss: Asian MMA’s most powerful man learnt value of money from part-time jobs
‘The most powerful man in Asian MMA’ does not mince words when talking about how part-time jobs have shaped him.
Victor Cui – the founder and CEO of mixed martial arts (MMA) promoter ONE Championship that has shepherded the career of many a famous fighter – has come a long way from working in his mother’s convenience store as a shelf stocker and cashier in Canada, to leading a big sports company.
In an interview with AsiaOne, the 44-year-old Canadian said he worked his first part-time job when was 12, adding that he “had, how would you put it politely – too much energy and my parents were desperately finding ways to diffuse it”.
Part-time jobs “have taught me the value of money,” said Cui who was born and raised in the town of Edmonton in Alberta, and credits his success to the work ethic these jobs developed.
The married father of a seven-year-old daughter, Kayleigh, and five-year-old son Liam, is based in Singapore with his family and founded ONE Championship in 2011.
“People said I was crazy to throw everything I had into ONE Championship, but it was just me going out to get what I wanted, which was to help unleash greatness in others through the power of martial arts and build something I can truly be proud of,” he added.
ONE Championship chose not to comment about its financial success, citing competitive reasons.
Indeed, this go-getter attitude manifest itself early on, even when Cui was working at his mother’s store and “collecting (his intitial) payments in the form of chocolate bars (before getting) a whopping raise to CAD$3 (S$3.20)/hour”.
Cui added that it was common for kids to work several part-time jobs in his town – and he certainly has had his share of interesting part-time jobs.
This includes working as the “only Asian cowboy” on his friends’ family farms where he would “spend weeks herding and branding cattle”, and delivering pizzas while in university on a Canadian military officer scholarship.
More interestingly, Cui, who is of Chinese and Filipino descent, says his diverse racial and cultural background has “shaped (him), but has not defined (him)”, adding that his nomadic lifestyle – from living in Kuala Lumpur for 3 years in the late 90s to now being based in Singapore – has not been too difficult because of the country’s multi-cultural society.
He also attributed his current success to the lessons he has learnt from his past jobs – both part-time and full-time.
His full-time jobs included serving four years in the Canadian Navy, as well as working “around the world” with the Olympics and World Championships.
“Everything I’ve done in my career so far has helped me get to this point,” he said.