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Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu

Thailand Muay Thai News - Rule Changes, Fights, Events

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Changes to Lumpinee Stadium:

Not sure if you all will be interested in the kind of "what's going on in Thailand" news, but I find it interesting and will be posting things here. Recently, there was a big meeting at Lumpinee with the head of the stadium. Lumpinee is run by the army and the man who is the head of the stadium is a high ranking officer, whose face was showing up in photos and and reports of this meeting, which seemed to be focused on 1) creating a new set of enforcement for punishing fighters who "lom muay" (that's "taking a fall" or "throwing a fight" to us), with a specification that "dek" (the word for children, but also colloquially used for "young") will be given a second chance; as well as some rules I'll have to get help fully understanding from Kru Nu, which seemed to be about fighters who change gyms and their alliances. And 2) how to drive more business to the Lumpinee, Ram Intra area throughout the week so that it's not just the 3 days on which they have promotions. When New Lumpinee opened, it was hit hard by being a completely inconvenient location and audience attendance plummeted. There are some things to do over there, but there's construction on the overpass and traffic is terrible, so the financial struggle at the stadium is real.

The part that's interesting is this "lom muay" part, because within a couple days of this meeting, this fighter was accused of throwing his fight. Aekgarat Tor. Dor. Gudanamsai is seen in this video returning backstage after the referee called his fight off. He was out of power and after the third round the referee announced the fight was dubious and had both fighters exit the ring. I've seen this before - the first time Kevin and I saw it on TV we had no idea what was happening. It's not frequent, but sometimes a referee will decide that one fighter is not really fighting, or trying to throw the fight, and he'll stop the fight right there and all bets are cancelled. Sometimes fighters are suspended, sometimes there's an investigation and it's ruled that it was not being thrown; and sometimes the referee is suspended, in the case that his call for stopping the fight is deemed a method of cheating for gambling purposes. Suspensions are uncommon. But the disdain that fighters who are known to have thrown fights are spoken about, demonstrates this is a big sore spot on the face of Muay Thai.

In this video, the military police come into the back room. He mostly just stays there to keep the fighter and trainers from going anywhere, then escort them to a meeting with this high ranking officer who runs Lumpinee. There were photos of that meeting in posts after this. Ultimately, the fighter explained that he was a replacement for this match and had only a week to prepare, which is why he had no power in the fight. He was not suspended or punished, ultimately. But in the video there's a guy who comes and is just screaming at this fighter and his trainer. You get a good glimpse of Thai style "not my business" with folks in the background, including another fighter who is getting ready for his match. The guy who is yelling is a gambler and his language is harsh. You'll get gamblers screaming at fighters from the stands after fights, but it's another thing for them to come backstage. I find it interesting that the military police officer is only concerned with keeping an eye on the fighter and trainers and has no care at all for controlling the gambler. In the comments on the facebook share of this video, my favorite is from a guy who, using very harsh language himself, directs his comment at the gambler and says, "if you've got so much energy to yell at the fighter like this, why don't you go fight the opponent yourself."

Ultimately, one of the reasons I'm sharing this is that the proximity of this meeting and announcement of punishment for throwing fights to an event in which a fighter is accused is highly performed. To have published photos of the meeting and then published photos of a fighter being accused, taken to the office, and ultimately let off with a warning all appears to be a "we made a rule and watch us enforce it!" kind of thing. 


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