British-born Aussie Elliot “The Dragon” Compton will return to the ONE Championship cage when he faces off against Matthew “Sobek” Semper at ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR in Yangon, Myanmar.
The bout, which takes place on Friday, 29 June, will see the four-time World Caged Muay Thai Champion return to action as he looks to continue his career in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
After relocating from England as a youngster, “The Dragon” grew up in Cairns and Brisbane, where he would find himself regularly challenged by his peers, both on the streets and in school.
“I do not know if there was any particular reason,” says the Muay Thai ace.
“I never had a big mouth or anything. I was always the quiet, reserved kid that did martial arts. Maybe that was it – they wanted to prove themselves.”
Initially, he was taunted verbally, but when that verbal abuse turned to bullying of a more physical nature, he refused to back down.
“I always tried to walk away if people were saying things,” he says.
“But if I walk away and they do not leave it alone, and they try to put their hands on me, then that is a line that is crossed – one that I cannot come back from.
“I trained my whole life to defend myself. I never picked fights, but martial arts was my self-defence mechanism.
“I will not be anyone’s victim. I would rather take a beating for something I believed in than not stand up for myself.”
Thanks to the training he received from his father, he was able to stand up for himself against the bullies using his martial arts.
The fact he knew that his skills were only for self-defence was crucial – had he been caught being the instigator, he would have been thrown out of his family’s gym.
Compton’s parents brought solid working-class values from the UK. Compton was taught to stand his ground and set a good example.
He took those values beyond his own experiences, and stood up for others who were unable to defend themselves.
“I hate seeing people use others to try and make themselves look better,” he says.
“Trying to belittle someone to hide your own insecurities, and picking on people who cannot defend themselves? I think it is the lowest of the low.”
One incident, back in the 10th grade, saw him respond after witnessing a group of bullies picking on a fellow student. He felt obliged to step in and defend the vulnerable boy.
“I was at a new school in Brisbane, and I saw a group of kids surrounding this guy who had autism,” he recalls.
“It was like something out of a movie – they were pushing him around, laughing at him, and making him drop his lunch and his books.
“I stepped into the middle and told them to start doing it to me. The first to push me got a punch and fell down. The rest backed down.”
Now a professional martial artist and coach, Compton maintains the same values today. He encourages others to build each other up, rather than knock people down.
His positive ethos has seen him succeed as a martial artist during a career that has taken him all the way to ONE Championship, where he feels the organisation’s values align perfectly with his own.
“ONE is a company that is dedicated to helping others,” he says.
“I am honoured to be a part of it.”