Tom “T-Bone” DeBlass, 38, of Forked River, New Jersey, United States is the most recent addition to the already impressive ONE Championship roster. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu icon and mixed martial arts veteran is excited to step inside the circle for the Singapore-based martial arts organization as soon as tense circumstances surrounding the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have eased.
The extended period in quarantine allowed DeBlass to take a step back and reevaluate his career, which rekindled his passion for professional competition and led to his signing with ONE Championship. The promotion’s chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong took to social media to make the announcement on May 18, 2020.
“This pandemic has really changed my way of thinking and my thought process,” DeBlass stated. “It’s very hard for me to just sit in my home and I started developing a fire, a drive and a motivation that I didn’t have before but I put all my faith in God.”
“A few days after I had a long prayer, Chatri messaged me and asked me what I thought about fighting,” DeBlass continued. “If it wasn’t him who messaged me, I wouldn’t have even thought about it.”
“I truly admire what he has done with ONE and I admire him,” the BJJ icon said of Chatri. “I said this must be God’s plan.”
A multiple-time BJJ and submission grappling world champion, DeBlass is one of the most highly regarded teachers of grappling arts. He is a product of the Renzo Gracie-Ricardo Almeida lineage and has mentored several high-level grappling competitors, including Jen Allen Russell, Kyle Cranmer and Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, who is ranked fifth as a contender in ONE Championship’s featherweight division.
“I love what ONE Championship stands for and I’ve been to the shows multiple times,” DeBlass shared. “I love the Samurai spirit.”
“I love the Asian culture,” the Forked River native continued. “Whether ONE is fighting in Asia or the United States, the culture they have represents much more than mixed martial arts.”