I've taken a lot of heat for publicly expressing my position that MMA is damaging to muay thai's image. And don't get me started on my opinion on how the "use" of muay thai in MMA fights is a ridiculously poor representation of the Thai national sport.
Well this morning I received some great news. The Bangkok Post reported yesterday that the Sport Authority of Thailand (SAT), essentially the government agency that regulates sports in the country has banned any and all MMA events to take place in Bangkok. According to SAT deputy governor, Sakol Wannapong, "Organising a MMA event here would hurt the image of Muay Thai."
Sakol also claims that mixed martial arts would mislead the public to think that muay thai is brutal. I don't exactly buy that given that muay thai isn't exactly a kissing contest. I believe that the government agency saw that what are called muay thai strikes in MMA bouts doesn't resemble muay thai, thus watering down their national sport, and a major component of Thailand's heritage.
Read the entire Bangkok Post article
The way I see it, this is validation of my longstanding opinion.
So, to all of the MMA fanboys - sporting your RVCA hoodies, with your TapOut flat brimmed cap (tipped askew for additional douchy toughness) - this is difficult to say, but... I kinda told you so.
I think there would be a huge appetite for MMA here in Thailand, but it probably would take something away from Muay Thai. I recently visited Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket and they have MMA instructors on staff. Apparently they haven't found any Thais who would perform well in an MMA match. The claim that MMA is too brutal for Thailand does sound a bit lame - they show dead people from horrific car accidents on TV and in newspapers all the time.ReplyDelete
As usual I agree with you down the line Donnie....ReplyDelete
Alright, I've gotta find something we disagree on.... hmm....Delete
That is good news Donnie. I'm glad they are protecting the sport on their home front.ReplyDelete
I totally agree, Sir.Delete
I thought I was in the minority. I'll be honest with you, man..When MMA got hot a few years ago, I gave it a shot but after a while got tired and turned off from the so-called "culture" and mentality. Don't get me wrong..I met some truly cool, dedicated and talented cats who trained in boxing, judo, etc. In fact, it was a humbling experience for me. However, Western boxing and Muay Thai are where I belong.
Where I live in Pennsylvania, MMA "schools" are opening up like Mc Donalds and are a dime a dozen. Every other guy has an "affliction" or Tapout shirt on. They roll a few times and think they are ready to take on Anderson Silva. More than anything, it's the carnival atmosphere and mentality that's a turnoff.
Western boxing is taking a huge hit from the MMA explosion. However, what happened in Bangkok will never happen here.
Great blog my friend, congratulations from:ReplyDelete
I would agree that the image of the stereotypical "MMA guy" has gotten extremely tool-esque. The mohawks, dyed hair, skull t-shirts, and tapout gear are getting stale fast. I would also very much agree that the striking that most MMA practitioners call muay thai is usually means straight knees in the clinch, and a few week leg kicks. The sport as a whole completely over-rates itself when it comes to M.T.ReplyDelete
However, MMA isn't muay thai, just like it isn't western boxing. It's a mixture of things, and since wrestlers can dictate where a fight takes place, they will continue to rise and thrive more than strikers in the sport. And with all these guys that have a wrestling base are on top of the sport, the striking is never going to be at the same level that you will see at a muay thai or boxing show. But they are all competeing for the same dollars. It's the same fan base that watches boxing, kick-boxing, and MMA, and pro-wrestling. That's why Bangkok banned MMA shows. They don't want MMA taking money away from there well established Muay Thai promotions. Sure, there is some national pride in there as well, but more than anything, it's about money.
Great point Anonymous. It makes sense to protect your market share by blocking competitors to even have a presence. But the ban is on organized events in Bangkok. I'm sure this wont' stop camps from offering MMA training, as Thailand's a destination for guys who want to step inside the cage. And if the camp owners can monetize MMA, they'll continue to do so.Delete
So I still believe that the SAT is still trying to protect the image and integrity of muay thai, but I also see the financial benefits of discouraging MMA in Thailand.
I too think this wasn't about politicians protecting the integrity of their sport.ReplyDelete
More likely it's just money talking. MMA promoters are direct competitors to MT promoters so they cut MMA off in its infancy. Most discussions I've followed seem to reflect this thought, people assume that the MT guys put money into some key pockets and the threat of MMA was gone.
I don't think politicians actually care about some commentators abroad calling MMA fighters' striking MT. Would be pretty damn petty.
Money, revenue, income is certainly a major factor, but I really do believe that there is a strong sense of national pride that influences the decisions made by the governing authority.ReplyDelete
I think of it as if (and excuse the reference)the NFL went to New Zealand or South Africa and said football is better that rugby, learn more... The local culture would prevail.
I'm sure that there has been some back channel negotiations, but do not underestimate the Thai peoples' nationalistic pride and the loyalty to the King.
Once I thought about things like: why such information is for free here? Because when you write a book then at least on selling a book you get a percentage. Thank you and good luck on informing people more about it!ReplyDelete
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