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As of today, there has been an announcement that Channel 8 shows, Muay Hardcore (MMA gloves) and Superchamp (gloves) will introduce 2 5 round fights at the end of each show starting at their first shows next year. These shows have, until nowz only been 3 round offers with an aim for the Entertainment Muay Thai format, which has grown in popularity. 

The New Lumpinee GoSprot promotion which introduced women to the stadium also introduced "hybrid" cards with the first 3 fights being 3 rounds, followed by 5 round fights.

Interesting development. 

 

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To me this is huge. The worrying trend that all of Thailand would start to be pushed toward new "Entertainment Muay Thai" action-first models, reducing clinch and devaluing high-level defensive skills gets exciting news in this. Lumpinee already has remodeled itself on hyper-modern, commercialized Muay Thai meant for an international audiences (not necessarily quality or skill set), becoming distinctly non-Thai in many ways. Regular MMA promotion will have its debut as part of the New New Lumpinee Stadium in January. It had me concerned that everything was just going to slide in one direction, some promotions much more than others, but all of them shifting. Things change fast in Thailand once they get going, and one never knows where it can swerve. But Lumpinee GoSport shows are already mixed shows, with "real" lower level Muay Thai on a card, also with something like "Entertainment Muay Thai" as well (these fights are only 3 rounds, but it's unclear if it's judged in the clash-only, Channel 8 ruleset). This New New Lumpinee approach was probably somewhat mimicking the mixed cards of ONE, where Kickboxing, MMA and modified rules Muay Thai (in the Entertainment, clinchless style) have had success.

It's quite startling that Superchamp and Hardcore, which after the demise of MAX Muay Thai, have been the spearhead of Entertainment Muay Thai promotion would open itself up to 5 round, regular rules Muay Thai. It's not completely clear if they will be judging in a traditional clinch and defense can win style, or if the "if you back up you lose" rules will be in effect (a big, important deal). At the very least it shows that a variety of rule set fights on a promotion are being seen as the way forward, and it sets up a direct comparison and competition between Lumpinee GoSport and Superchamp/Hardcore (Channel 8), not to mention the coming Fairtex mixed card promotions that are soon due in Lumpinee as well.

The move towards 5 round fights by Superchamp/Hardcore at the very least shows that even in the "Entertainment Muay Thai" model, which Superchamp/Hardcore has a firm lead in, they see incorporating more or less traditional Muay Thai as an advantage. Maybe it's to raise the value of the brand and bring more widespread legitimacy? Saying: we are not just "entertainment" fighting. Maybe they'll bring in bigger Thai names and compete with the transformations that are happening at Lumpinee? At the very least it gives more foothold to the value of traditional kinds of Muay Thai, and a desire to braid things together.

These kinds of moves, across promotions, also coincidentally raise the value of foreign fighters in the country. As more and more promotions embrace mid- and low- tier skill set matchups, which are almost always Thai vs non-Thai, and the more these promotions take a bigger slice out of the Muay Thai pie, the more non-Thai fighters are needed.

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