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Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu

MMA Coming to Lumpinee Stadium as Part of the New New Lumpinee

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Fairtex has announced it will begin promoting at Lumpinee Stadium, starting in January, including MMA shows. So... that's happening. They also explicitly state "all genders," making them the second promotion to include women at the stadium (currently GoSport is the only promotion including women there).

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A Muay Thai Reaction

 

As for how the New New Lumpinee, with its focus on omitting gambling and including very different promotions, one reaction from Thai fans is expressed in this post from a popular Thai Language news page.

It says: Lumpinee will accept 3 rounds, 5 rounds, 6 rounds, female fighters, MMA, concerts - everything but gambling.

(I assume the 6 round fights are boxing.)

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I understand that we are talking about broadening the scope of viewership, and even the very identity of Thailand's Muay Thai. One can never really be sure if something new is coming to save, or destroy something old or traditional that is waning. I really believe that, but we do need to keep track of where this is going.

It's worth noting that Fairtex Pattaya also hosted something called Fight Circus, a bunch of oddity fights November 6th, streamed to the adult cam site Camsoda, and tweeted out in parts. You can read about this show, and see more event examples here  Bloody Elbow: Fight Circus 3 videos: Watch insane ‘Siamese kickboxing,’ literal phone booth fighting, more oddities. Pretty incredibly Australian Muay Thai fighter Celest Hansen fought a Phone Booth "Leithwei" fight, streamed 8 days before she became part of the first female bout to fight in the Lumpinee Stadium ring, a huge historic moment in the Muay Thai Thailand. It's highly unlikely that this Phone Booth fight was filmed when streamed, so near the Lumpinee fight, as Celest is cut in the video. It was probably just fed into the Nov 6th stream as if live, or tweeted it out then; who can tell. Celest lives in Phuket, not Pattaya, and again this was only 8 days before she entered the ring at Lumpinee Stadium. But, in the context of changes coming to Thailand's Muay Thai the juxtaposition of the two fights in time is striking.

Here is "Siamese Kickboxing" tweeted out from the oddities show.

Here Celest is coming out of the Lumpinee ring 8 days after the stream, making huge history, photo series here:

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You can see Celest fighting the historic fight at Lumpinee on November 13th here [full fight]:

 

The fight oddities streaming show was put on, separately, at Faritex many hours before another historic fight in the evening, also hosted at Fairtex: the WBC World Championship between Souris Manfredi and Dangkongfah. This epic fight marked the first time the new WBC female Muay Thai rankings resulted in a Westerner vs Thai World Championship, which you can see here. In the day fight oddities, in the evening a big WBC female title fight:

 

Aside from the sheer toughness and badassness of Celest being in both of these events, it also provides a jarring snapshot into just how far we can be stretching the tradition <<<>>>new eyeballs spectrum. MMA isn't even the full limit of "extreme" in that reach. And also it brings into view the unique place female fighters find themselves within it. Female fighting, as legitimate, became internationally stamped as legitimate through MMA,, and the transformations that Ronda Rousey forced open in the UFC. Then headlining female fights were embraced by ONE Championship, in some imitation of the UFC, and then by Fairtex itself who set upon creating a female MMA fight team - one of the first in Thailand to do so - starting with Stamp Fairtex. Female fighters in a certain respect represent, or even embody the possibility of new, modern fighting. But as in this case, with commericialization and the need to reach new audiences, one also risks farce and even circus. This occurs just as when female fighters themselves yearn for and reach to be integrated in the traditions and honor of Lumpinee which has excluded them. What does it mean for MMA to be included in Lumpinee? It's a really interesting question with no simple answer.

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In a bit of history, Sylvie reported on the early MMA scene in Thailand way back in 2016 when ONE Championship put on a combination MMA and rock concert event in Bangkok. At the time MMA was, I believe, illegal in the country as it was seen as a threat to Muay Thai heritage, but Chatri and ONE managed to get an exception (or even change the law, I'm not sure). Sylvie's article including an interview with a Thai MMA fighter who was working his way through the very early scene. Some are pointing out that the new announcements regarding New New Lumpinee includes Lumpinee concerts. Perhaps they are thinking of doing similar concert + combat sport events. Read the article here: Insight into Thailand’s MMA Scene – Interview with MMA Fighter Itti Chantrakoon

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You can see Sylvie's 2016 interview with one of Thailand's proto-MMA fighters here:

 

 

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18 hours ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Fairtex has announced it will begin promoting at Lumpinee Stadium, starting in January, including MMA shows. So... that's happening. They also explicitly state "all genders," making them the second promotion to include women at the stadium (currently GoSport is the only promotion including women there).

578745530_MMAatLumpinee.thumb.jpg.135aaa04658148fcd94aef0cf6209767.jpg

 

A Muay Thai Reaction

 

As for how the New New Lumpinee, with its focus on omitting gambling and including very different promotions, one reaction from Thai fans is expressed in this post from a popular Thai Language news page.

It says: Lumpinee will accept 3 rounds, 5 rounds, 6 rounds, female fighters, MMA, concerts - everything but gambling.

(I assume the 6 round fights are boxing.)

Screenshot_20211118-095908_Facebook.thumb.jpg.61edeaa252b1221e4702d231baa1dfe9.jpg

The beginning... If the end 

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I wanted to comment on this theme of MMA in regards also to what Kevin said on your last Muay-Thai Bones Podcast ep 26.

Kevin spoke that he felt a red line had been crossed by allowing MMA in Lumpinee. He said He didnt want inferior MMA being shown there as one reason.

He spoke of the inferior MMA of One Championship as compared to the UFC.

Though the pool of fighters in One is smaller, it has for instance Team Lakay from the Philippines, and the Lee family of Hawaii:  Angela, Christian and now Victoria who could be champions in the UFC too,

The UFC is best at exploiting and ruining the lives of its fighters who are subject to terrible contracts and endless bullying by this massive corporation. 

Thank God One Championship exists, and many thanks to Chatri Sidyodtong for bringing Muay-Thai and Kickboxing into the program in 2018.

The real problem of having MMA in Lumpinee is the problem of MMA itself.

MMA usurped MuayThai years ago as the premier fighting art.

In the early 90s when they had the first cage fights, it was also a contest of which style would prevail.

Unfortunately BJJ 🤢 was the winner in those early years. Muay-Thai was only useful in standup, and striking could only prevail on the feet.

If the fight went to the ground grapplers would prevail. Wrestlers, judokas jui jitsu, and sambo fighters could easily take down a stand-up fighter and submit or choke him out. 

A third point which makes MMA the most attractive art is the streetfighting aspect which makes it more "realistic" to the bored average Western viewer.

So MuayThai is seen as only one part, -and a less important aspect of MMA😢.

What I am getting at basically is that from a Muay-Thai standpoint it would be better if MMA:

                                        A) Never existed, or

                                        B) Would just go away!😈

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