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Arranging fights for yourself in Thailand?


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Hi there-

Question.  I read that Sylvie does it but how does one go about getting their own fights without the gym or trainer involved.  I've had some really bad experiences and have lost out on a lot of money training.  I'm about to give up on Thailand and never go back but I'm a fighter and I hate it when someone stops me from something because they don't keep their word.  I have actually started to learn Thai for one more shot a year from now but in the meantime, I'm trying to figure out how to better take care of myself and not lose more money on gyms and trainers.

 

Thanks.

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31 minutes ago, Victoria Pitt said:

I read that Sylvie does it but how does one go about getting their own fights without the gym or trainer involved.

This is very, very difficult to do. Really almost impossible among the promoters and stadia we know, because it is not encouraged. Things may have changed since we first became familiar with the situation, I know several people have tried based on what Sylvie has described for herself, I haven't heard of one regularly successful person. A primary reason for this difficulty is that promoters count on the dependability of gyms and their liaisons. Gyms let them know how skilled a fighter is so there can be a good match (something they assess as you train with them), and then maybe even more importantly, gyms filter out undependable people. The promoter needs people to show up on cards. And lastly, and most importantly, these are very enduring relationships between gyms and promoters. The people involved have known each other for a decade or two usually. These are foundational bonds. In Thailand it's very unusual to go outside of these kinds of channels.

The only reason why Sylvie was able to break out of this was a kind of perfect storm situation. She had already established herself as incredibly dependable as a fighter in Chiang Mai. I think she had already fought maybe 70 fights in the city. So when we moved to Pattaya, far from Chiang Mai, the trust issue was already there. Everyone knew her skill level, and everyone knew she was extremely dependable.

On top of that Sylvie's Thai got really good, which greased the communication wheels.

There may have been people who have found their way around the usual channels, but in Thailand you really need to have someone speaking for you, vouching for you. Sylvie's kind of a unicorn in this because she has created her own very solid reputation, something she could never have done without the help of her gym in Chiang Mai for the first several years.

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I see.   😞

I have lost faith in what people have told me.  I'm almost thinking that the powers that be just don't want me to fight.  I really don't know where to turn at this point because I don't trust any gyms or trainers anymore. This is why I started to learn Thai so that I COULD speak for myself and know what is being said around me.

 

I don't want to give up on this but I feel that unless I'm a 20 year old, 55kg hot chick, there is no way I'm ever going to get on a card.  And that burns because I've seen some- no A LOT - of western fighters way, way, way worse than I am fighting.

 

Thanks for the response.

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23 minutes ago, Victoria Pitt said:

I don't want to give up on this but I feel that unless I'm a 20 year old, 55kg hot chick, there is no way I'm ever going to get on a card.

That's crazy (by our experience). Just go to Chiang Mai. Find a gym that fights a lot. There are female fight cards in the city every night of the week.

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Hey @Victoria Pitt I got a fight outside of a gym. Friend knew a promoter who set it up without knowing me or my skill level (in English). I guess based on him trusting my friend. All was very ok and decent as far as I know. I'm now connected to the promoter who wanted to set up another fight. However he's going through some tough financial times atm unfortunately and will most likely travel abroad for work very soon. 

Heard great stuff about Sitjemam and Santai up in the north when it comes to fighting opportunities for women. 

So sorry about this. They been promising you fights that never materialize while you keep paying training fees?

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Can you go into a little more detail regarding bad experiences/losing money? You don't have to name gyms or people, I'm just trying to understand the situation more clearly. Like are you paying for training somewhere wanting to fight and they aren't finding you fights? What is your experience level and how old are you? What area do you want to fight in and what weight do you fight at? Are you living in Thailand or just coming to train and fight when you can? 

I ask so many questions because sometimes it is just difficult to find matchups for certain people and the trainers or gym will simply give up without telling you (for a variety of reasons). I for example struggle to make 70 kg and only have 3 fights. This makes it difficult to find Thais for me to fight because a lot the ones over 70 kg are typically older and much more experienced than I am since they have basically retired and gotten fat lol. However my trainers are very adamant about me only fighting Thais and won't even bother looking for other foreigners for me to fight. A lot of promoters also see my age and just brush me off without even looking at training videos because by Thai standards I am ancient. 

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Ah to respond to everyone:

My age.  I'm older but no lie, nobody has a clue until I tell them and I show them my passport.  They peg me for 10 years younger than I am- and they've seen me in the ring so they know I don't move like I'm about to die in the nursing home. 

Yes, I pay fees, promised to fight then they they don't do it.  Always wait until last min to try to find an opponent if at all.. but hey let me pay to go to the stadium so I can "meet" the promoter who I never meet but I just paid $1300 BHT to watch fights I really don't care about and wouldn't pay to go see.

My age has never come up.  My size has but there is Thai girl in that area who is actually bigger than I am in addition to the fact that where I was is mostly farang anyway.  I have no problem fighting a westerner- I figured I'd have to anyway.

I save up my money then come for a few months to train and hopefully fight. I've done that three times now.  This last time really hurt as I was gone three months and wasn't working- I had finished my contract. So I blew my savings to go to Thailand because I was told THIS time I would fight and it didn't happen.  I was told I would be taken care of and that absolutely didn't happen.  I was basically ignored.

If I were to read this and not know me or see me in the ring I would think "well she must be terrible then".  Let me play devil's advocate on that one for a moment.  If that is the case, let me fight and get KO'd and that would end me bitching about wanting to fight.

I have to find a job now (I came home on Monday) and try to pay off my bills, save up again, and try to come back. That means another year here in the states before I can attempt Thailand again.  I AM NOT GETTING ANY YOUNGER.  Not going to lie- I'm livid, I'm pissed, and I'm hurt.  I know because I know my body better than anyone, I still have been gifted with a little more time than most people. I have adjust my training accordingly. I am tough as nails and I have no fear.  But I am realistic... if it doesn't happen in the next two years, then my clock really is up.  I'm not trying to be some regional champion or anything like that. I just want a fight or two. I've trained for over 7 years and never fought- I was supposed to but I tore my ACL.  It's been a battle to get in that ring and so frustrating.  I could go on and on and whine but I don't want to.  I just know the only way it will happen is if I take care of myself because I cannot trust gyms/trainers.

I have been told to look at Chang Mai or Bangkok.

All I want to do is spend a few months training hard, a fight or three come home and it will be out of my system (maybe).  But at this point I am beyond frustrated... and I need to find a job as this last big mistake cost me financially quite badly.  I would have been happy to eat it if I had crossed off something on my list but my last trip to Thailand was a NIGHTMARE which hurts me because I was so in love with it there.  I just feel... abused.  LOL.

 

But... the fighter in me doesn't want to quit or let this go. I train hard. I do the work.  I deserve to get KO'd if that is what they think is going to happen.  

Sorry for the long windedness.  I just don't know how to express how disappointed, hurt and broken I felt/feel about this whole experience.

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45 minutes ago, Victoria Pitt said:

I have been told to look at Chang Mai or Bangkok

Bangkok does not have a lot of female fights. People are drawn to there because it's the capital, but it is definitely NOT the capital for female fighting. Given your frustrations I would say avoid Bangkok. Chiang Mai has lots and lots and lots of fight cards with women on them. Bangkok almost none.

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52 minutes ago, Victoria Pitt said:

Yes, I pay fees, promised to fight then they they don't do it.  Always wait until last min to try to find an opponent if at all.. but hey let me pay to go to the stadium so I can "meet" the promoter who I never meet but I just paid $1300 BHT to watch fights I really don't care about and wouldn't pay to go see.

What part of the country are you? Phuket? One of the islands? Just to understand where this is happening.

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I was in Phuket.   I am back in the US now.

And you are the third person to say "Chiang Mai."  I do like the night market there the best of the one's I've seen so far.  I got my sak yants there.  I think that it is a sign.  I know its way cheaper there than in Phuket and the only woman I trust to touch my hair in Thailand is there.  The question is will there be fights at 65 or 70 kg because that is as low as I can go.  I am not a tall woman- I just am a very thick one.   But I have seen fights with women my size, at least in Phuket I have.   

I just need a good gym and trainer that I can trust.  I'm so easy going and laid back- except when you say you are going to do something, you have to do it- that does irk me.  Again, thanks for listening to me.  My heart is broken over it... but I think I do want to give it one more shot- especially since I've invested this much time into learning the Thai alphabet and slowly reading.. (hahaha).  I just want my shot. 

 

Thanks.

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Super common though, happens all the time to guys and girls, of all weights. You get your fights cancelled all the time at the last minute, or get told to fight the night before when something opens up. Just gotta go with it.

It's probably not trainers or gym owners deliberately trying to screw you.

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4 hours ago, Victoria Pitt said:

Ah to respond to everyone:

My age.  I'm older but no lie, nobody has a clue until I tell them and I show them my passport.  They peg me for 10 years younger than I am- and they've seen me in the ring so they know I don't move like I'm about to die in the nursing home. 

Yes, I pay fees, promised to fight then they they don't do it.  Always wait until last min to try to find an opponent if at all.. but hey let me pay to go to the stadium so I can "meet" the promoter who I never meet but I just paid $1300 BHT to watch fights I really don't care about and wouldn't pay to go see.

My age has never come up.  My size has but there is Thai girl in that area who is actually bigger than I am in addition to the fact that where I was is mostly farang anyway.  I have no problem fighting a westerner- I figured I'd have to anyway.

I save up my money then come for a few months to train and hopefully fight. I've done that three times now.  This last time really hurt as I was gone three months and wasn't working- I had finished my contract. So I blew my savings to go to Thailand because I was told THIS time I would fight and it didn't happen.  I was told I would be taken care of and that absolutely didn't happen.  I was basically ignored.

If I were to read this and not know me or see me in the ring I would think "well she must be terrible then".  Let me play devil's advocate on that one for a moment.  If that is the case, let me fight and get KO'd and that would end me bitching about wanting to fight.

I have to find a job now (I came home on Monday) and try to pay off my bills, save up again, and try to come back. That means another year here in the states before I can attempt Thailand again.  I AM NOT GETTING ANY YOUNGER.  Not going to lie- I'm livid, I'm pissed, and I'm hurt.  I know because I know my body better than anyone, I still have been gifted with a little more time than most people. I have adjust my training accordingly. I am tough as nails and I have no fear.  But I am realistic... if it doesn't happen in the next two years, then my clock really is up.  I'm not trying to be some regional champion or anything like that. I just want a fight or two. I've trained for over 7 years and never fought- I was supposed to but I tore my ACL.  It's been a battle to get in that ring and so frustrating.  I could go on and on and whine but I don't want to.  I just know the only way it will happen is if I take care of myself because I cannot trust gyms/trainers.

I have been told to look at Chang Mai or Bangkok.

All I want to do is spend a few months training hard, a fight or three come home and it will be out of my system (maybe).  But at this point I am beyond frustrated... and I need to find a job as this last big mistake cost me financially quite badly.  I would have been happy to eat it if I had crossed off something on my list but my last trip to Thailand was a NIGHTMARE which hurts me because I was so in love with it there.  I just feel... abused.  LOL.

 

But... the fighter in me doesn't want to quit or let this go. I train hard. I do the work.  I deserve to get KO'd if that is what they think is going to happen.  

Sorry for the long windedness.  I just don't know how to express how disappointed, hurt and broken I felt/feel about this whole experience.

Oooh I feel for you! I'm so sorry about this experience.

Recently at my gym we had a guy who is clearly more than middle aged, not very fit, not that experienced, tall and heavy and not a long time customer. He got a fight within 2 weeks. Which he won and he was very friendly but still it feels unfair. These things happen.

I've also met a very experienced female fighter tall and around 65-70kilo. In Thailand longtime. She told me she gave up on fighting because a fight would be announced get postponed and in the end taking 6 months...to her not worth that hassle. 

It's so hard advocating for yourself and as a woman there's so much bullshit on top of everything else. And displaying any kind of negative emotion about it will only break down communication completely. To me only thing that has worked is being patient, friendly and trying to get sympathy. Showing you are sad without blaming anyone has proved to be useful. 

But it's not easy. 

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15 minutes ago, LengLeng said:

Oooh I feel for you! I'm so sorry about this experience.

Recently at my gym we had a guy who is clearly more than middle aged, not very fit, not that experienced, tall and heavy and not a long time customer. He got a fight within 2 weeks. Which he won and he was very friendly but still it feels unfair. These things happen.

I've also met a very experienced female fighter tall and around 65-70kilo. In Thailand longtime. She told me she gave up on fighting because a fight would be announced get postponed and in the end taking 6 months...to her not worth that hassle. 

It's so hard advocating for yourself and as a woman there's so much bullshit on top of everything else. And displaying any kind of negative emotion about it will only break down communication completely. To me only thing that has worked is being patient, friendly and trying to get sympathy. Showing you are sad without blaming anyone has proved to be useful. 

But it's not easy. 

Yeah, the sympathy thing doesn't work for me because I don't look like a small, cute, pretty girl. Too strong, rides a motorcycle and not a scooter, tattoos, etc.  They don't feel sorry for me at all. I can get into it but I do see how I get treated in comparison to some others and it isn't the same.  I wish they would treat me like I am a woman like everyone else but I don't get that at all, I've noticed.  But that's a different topic for another forum, I think.

And I have seen the WORST STUFF with men getting fights who absolutely should not be getting them.  But I can't really look at that because there are far more men than there are women and they will sometimes just grab a drunk off the street who did Muay Thai 30 years ago just to give that guy a fight.  I call it the "I went to Thailand to Fight" Tourist package. Old guy says he wants to fight, pays a lot of money to the gym, gets the fight before he leaves with a tuk-tuk driver and gets the photo as proof even though the fight is beyond shocking and sad to watch.  Maybe I'm no different as I've come several times to fight myself.  

I really think I will try my luck in Chang Mai in a year if my body still feels good and I managed to save the money up again.  I will try to contact the gyms ahead of time though.  Again, I've been working really hard on learning Thai and I'm actually making progress with the reading part.. the speaking part... ha- well... I have time to get it down.  But I think it will help me with this.

I'm also going to try to get some kickboxing fights here in the US. I think its harder because of my age HERE than where I was in Thailand.  There are a lot of reasons why I didn't want to do that in the US but that way I might have some video that I would actually be interesting to put on a card.

Or maybe I should just jump off a cliff.  😡😖

But I will keep trying.  I loosely have a plan of what I need to do and registered for Revgear in October hoping I get an opponent.  That will be my first shot of getting some video of me in action.  I've worked too hard to give this up, I think.

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1 hour ago, Oliver said:

Super common though, happens all the time to guys and girls, of all weights. You get your fights cancelled all the time at the last minute, or get told to fight the night before when something opens up.

This is very true. My first fight got canceled 4-5 times and then I got one the next evening. Fight arrangements are generally a total shit show for everyone out here lol.

 

1 hour ago, Victoria Pitt said:

I'm also going to try to get some kickboxing fights here in the US. I think its harder because of my age HERE than where I was in Thailand.  There are a lot of reasons why I didn't want to do that in the US but that way I might have some video that I would actually be interesting to put on a card.

Another option here might just be to straight up lie about your fight experience lol. Just tell them you have like 5-10 fights and go with it. That might help motivate a trainer or gym to find you a fight as it is typically a little more work for them to find someone in your weight class who is very inexperienced or brand new. I don't know if that is good or bad advice lol, but it's an idea!

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Just don't go to a gym near a beach or anything too touristy that's full of of permanently hungover westerners and fancy new equipment with no Thai fighters. Those trainers are used to seeing people for 2, 3 weeks at a time and having a revolving door of fresh foreign customers. So there might be less personal care if the whole thing feels more transactional and short termist.

Go anywhere else, like a regular part of the country, stay long term, one of any of the so many random gyms with predominantly young thai fighters training and living there, and maybe a few other foreigners dotted about. Trainers care about you way more in that context, and genuinely want to see you improve and win, and are good about getting you fights.

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