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My Passion: Sameer P. Sethi

The oil company executive lives for boxing, mixed martial arts, and Krav Maga
By Tory Tarpley |

Sameer P. Sethi, president and CEO of Sethi Petroleum, is passionate about martial arts—to the point that he once came into the office sporting two black eyes. Introduced to taekwondo by his father as a child, it wasn’t long before Sethi branched out into boxing, followed by mixed martial arts and, most recently, Krav Maga, the official combat method of the Israeli Defense Forces.

What Sethi loves most is the adrenaline rush of a fight. To keep things challenging, Sethi seeks out stiff competition. At MMA classes in Sachse, he’d pit himself against Ultimate Fighting Championship athletes and men well above his weight class. In one particularly memorable bout, he beat the star student.

Sethi has competed in each of the disciplines he practices, aside from Krav Maga, as its tenets of disarm/disable/kill are not exactly geared for competition. He says he’s partial to mixed martial arts because once the fight begins, the stakes are high, and “your whole life depends on that moment.”

The oil and gas CEO also applies this mantra to his work. He describes a “lust crossover,” where he’s inspired by the rush of starting businesses, meeting impossible deadlines, and being an entrepreneur.

Sethi Petroleum is a great arena for such battles. The company works with companies such as ExxonMobil and Hess in big oil and gas plays in the Bakken and Eagle Ford shales, managing ground-floor investments for its clients. Sethi’s expanding hedge fund and subsidiary ventures also keep his schedule tight.

Launched in 2003, Sethi Petroleum has been growing significantly since it “almost started over” after the recession, Sethi says. A string of recent hires will free up more time for his martial arts passion. “Nothing makes me feel more alive,” he says.