Edition: English | 中文简体 | 中文繁体 Монгол
Homepage > Sports Video

Thailand Mixed Martial Arts: New sport poses threat to popular of traditional martial art

Reporter: Tony Cheng 丨 CCTV.com

05-31-2016 16:06 BJT

Thailand hosted its first Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, fight recently as the new discipline tries to find a new audience. Cage fighting has been popular in Asia for sometime, but Thailand’s sports authorities have been reluctant to allow it to grow because of fears it will threaten the kingdom's traditional martial art, Muay Thai, or Thai boxing as the ONE Championship is now the largest sports media property on the continent.

Prize fighters warm up for the big match…

But these fighters represent a new discipline…MMA or mixed martial arts.
Launched recently in Bangkok amidst a flurry of media attention, they’re hoping to bring a new audience to prize fighting, with their no holds barred combat.

"It's more real fighting. When you fight Muay Thai, or taekwando or boxing, judo or wrestling, they have rules, they don’t allow you to do something, and they allow you to do something else. But in MMA you can do everything, which is very close to a real fight," said Shannon Cai MMA fighter.

Appropriately one of the big attractions is a former Muay Thai champion…

The former kickboxing title holder remains hugely popular in Thailand. But many in Thailand perceive the arrival of MMA as a threat to traditional Thai boxing.

Although still popular, the sport has acquired a rather traditional and old fashioned image…

The sports governing authority has insisted that the customs and history of Thai boxing are preserved ahead of modern innovation.

'Boat' comes from a long line of thai boxing promoters…and he admits his father is concerned about the arrival of an exciting new fighting style.

But he thinks that MMA will bring international exposure to Muay Thai. and their audience shouldn’t go down…

"Maybe, a little bit, but it won’t be that effected. For Muay Thai we need other people from around the world to come, and to try. If they can try, this will be a chance for us to improve out business," said Nuttadaj 'boat' Vachirarattanawong Petchyindee Muay Thai academy.

But it’s not just loosing fans that’s the problem. Thai boxing with its punches and kicks is an ideal base for the skills needed in MMA.

Many professional fighters have already defected…and Thailand’s national sport could be in danger of loosing its brightest and best.

"A serious professional Muay Thai fighter would expect top earn about 150,000 baht from a successful bout, that’s nearly 5,000 usd..good money here in Thailand. But if youy compare that with what a top MMA fighter can earn…over a million USD…then you can see why Muay thai fans are concerned their top fighters will be tempted away," said Tony Cheng Bangkok.

The big fight is certainly a spectacle…with blazing lasers and loud music…

But this isn’t whats pulled in the crowds.

They’ve come to see the raw no holds barred fighting that MMA offers…and they don’t have to wait long. This bout between a Russian and an Australian lasts a mere 6 seconds…

Its finished by a kick that renders the Australian unconscious.

In any other discipline this would be illegal…but MMA is governed by the laws of the street.

As for the Thai champion…not such a good night…

His Japanese opponent wrestles him to the ground…avoiding his powerful kicks and punches…and he never manages to recover.

Disappointment for the fans…but MMA has set out its stall as the kid on the block.

Follow us on

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Instagram

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Wechat