Catching up with Martijn De Jong


It's been a while since we last talked to the always busy Shooto Europe, ADCC Holland president, GLORY founder Martijn De Jong and many things have changed since. The former CEO and founder of GLORY, VP of GLORY Sports, former head coach to Alistair Overeem and many talked to us about his current endeavors, why he left GLORY, future plans and the Asian region.

Q: - Hello Martijn, lots of things have changed since we last talked. Can you confirm what exactly are you into nowadays, what's your main role in GLORY, at the Golden Glory Gym?

A: - I am not with GLORY anymore since last year. After I sold it to a group of investors in 2012, I stayed with the company for 2 more years.

Q: - Anything specific why you finally decided to leave after 2 years?

A: - Their vision is different than mine and while I do think that the GLORY events and tv production is still one of the best in the world, I also think that they are spending way too much money without a possible return. Especially in the beginning there were too many people involved who had no experience with the Martial Arts business or event promotion side.

I don't understand their long short or long term strategy at all. However, while there are more Kickboxing organizations trying to get a market share, GLORY definitely holds the best talent and is dominating the Kickboxing market.

Q: - You've been working with Alistair Overeem, Siyar Bahadurzada back in the days. What are you up to nowadays and which fighters do you work with?

A: - Currently, I am still busy training fighters, spreading the Tatsujin Training System all around the world, promoting and co-promoting small MMA & submission wrestling events and recently got involved in DISQ which is a mobile fitness device designed for Functional Constant Resistance Training. With DISQ you are able to train anywhere whenever you want. It can be used for any kind of sports and is very useful for Martial Artists.

After Alistair Overeem, Siyar Bahadurzada and others left the team, I focused mainly on the always loyal and good performing Marloes Coenen and Vincent Latoel plus the new generation of fighters in my gym. Currently I am also focusing a bit more on Asia and I have multiple fight deals in place for my fighters at One Championship and Road Fc among others.

Q: - You have many fighters in several organizations around the world. Tatsujin is a pretty successful team yet the US media or more generally the English speaking media seems to be kind of neglecting you. Why do yo think that is?

A: - I am not sure but I have some young kids from 20-27 years old on standby to make some waves internationally again. The english speaking media will definitely reach out to us soon again :-)

Q: - Do you still plan to get back to the UFC with as many fighters possible or it's not that important anymore?

A: - We are definitely looking at getting back to UFC anytime soon! It is the premier MMA organization in the world and if you want to be the best you have to be there.

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Q: - You mentioned Asia and that you're focusing on that side of the world a bit more. How do you see the development taking place in the region and the future landscape?

A: - I recently established a strategic relation with an indonesian fitness chain called Celebrity Fitness. They are the market leader in Indonesia and Malaysia and have gyms in Singapore as well. At the end of the year they are looking to have around 63 gyms in the region. I already trained 31 of their personal trainers to teach the Tatsujin Training MMA System in their facility. In September around 75 Celebrity Fitness trainers will be added to the existing group.

There are also plans to open up a Tatsujin Dojo Training Facility in Jakarta which will probably happen before the end of the year. Indonesia is a huge market with 250 million inhabitants. There is a huge interest in MMA and gyms are popping up everywhere but the quality is still not on international level. My father was born in Indonesia so I am super happy to be able to bring something back to Indonesia.

My prediction is that if we structure all well, Indonesia will be on international level within 3-5 years. However this requires a lot of hard work. China, Philippines and Malaysia are already developing quick. Singapore has Evolve but their best fighters are not locals but flown-in foreigners. However they will definitely raise the level of MMA in the region. Indonesia will come up very soon is my prediction!

Q: - WMMA still seems to be struggling a bit, not many fighters getting enough attention (Marloes Coenen & Arlene Blencowe aren't on the main card at Bellator 41 for example). Do you think it's more because of promoters don't really know or have the talent to market, promote the fighters and fights than the lack of interest?

A: - I don't know why Bellator decided to put Marloes Coenen and Arlene Blencowe on the undercard of their upcoming show in Temecula. It really doesn't make sense. Marloes only fought once on an undercard in her life and that was her first fight in Strikeforce which eventually ended up being broadcasted as well.

Usually Marloes is fighting the co-main or main event at any event. There is only 1 guy on the main card has more followers than her on Twitter so I really don't get it. It only motivates Marloes more to put on an very exciting performance again which would put her right in the spot for a title fight!