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Sparing, fight and vision - Contact Lenses and Fighting

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Sa waat dee kha :) 

So yesterday my trainer finally told me I'll do my first fight in 54 days (really excited about it!), and told me that it is forbidden to fight with contact lenses. 
For a while I was sparing without contact, but since I wear them I've seen a lot of improvement in my blocks and distance to throw jab/knee/kick.
I thought "it could be great because if I don't see clear there is less chance I'll be "intimidated" by my opponent and the crowd".... however, there is also less chance that I can see punch, kick, knees coming or the ref or my trainer. 
Then I was wondering if I could just "cheat" and put my contact lenses after seeing the doc...
Or basically just fight "blind" (I am astigmatic and short-sighted - both eyes).
Did anyone has ever been in that situation?
Any advices?

Khawp khoon maak kha !

 

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I'd also really like to hear from anyone with experience in this area...I'm pretty short-sighted (around -5 in both eyes). 

I normally wear glasses, but I train without any lenses. I wore contacts when I first started but I couldn't be bothered keeping it up and a few times when I got punched in the eyes, the contacts moved or irritated my eyes.

I've worn contacts in my interclub fights, but I've only done a few so I can't say whether they really make a difference...but they do make you feel more confident on the day, especially as you'll be placed in an unfamiliar environment. I think we're always going to be at a slight disadvantage if we fight "blind", but if you train most of the time without them you can definitely learn to fight without them.

Well done on getting your first fight, and best of luck!

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(sorry for my english)

I had a laser eye surgery in january for this reason :) 

I couldn't train without lenses, I just couldn't see anything... And my self-confidence was totally off... So in trainings I always worn them.
In my first fight I've worn my lenses, the doctor didn't notice it  :D I know, it's forbidden and dangerous, but I didn't care. 

But in trainings my lenses often fell out when my partner hit me, and if it happens in a real fight, you will be disqualified.. 
So I save up, and had a PRK. 

3 months after the surgery I had a fight, and it was so much better.

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Thanks for you comments!!
I think I'll start again to train and spare without them like bbf3 suggested, being disqualified is a risk I wouldn't take, since as you said P.Evi, it does irritate a bit the eye, and they can fall off easily (happen to me 3 times already in sparing, it isn't that much but still!)

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I am nearsighted with astigmatism and I train without lenses. Mine isn't too extreme so I manage all right. Lenses bother me too much to wear so it's glasses when I need them (like to drive) and Macgoo Crew the rest of the time.

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Sa waat dee kha :) 

 

So yesterday my trainer finally told me I'll do my first fight in 54 days (really excited about it!), and told me that it is forbidden to fight with contact lenses. 

For a while I was sparing without contact, but since I wear them I've seen a lot of improvement in my blocks and distance to throw jab/knee/kick.

I thought "it could be great because if I don't see clear there is less chance I'll be "intimidated" by my opponent and the crowd".... however, there is also less chance that I can see punch, kick, knees coming or the ref or my trainer. 

Then I was wondering if I could just "cheat" and put my contact lenses after seeing the doc...

Or basically just fight "blind" (I am astigmatic and short-sighted - both eyes).

Did anyone has ever been in that situation?

Any advices?

Khawp khoon maak kha !

I know a woman in NY who snuck her contacts into the ring with her. One got knocked out of her eye by a strike during the fight and she was very disoriented by having one in and one out. She asked the referee if she could just have a second to take the other one out (I assume her corner would have done this), but he didn't stop the fight for her.

So, if you DO sneak them in, be aware that they might not stay in. And maybe training without them will help you feel prepared for whatever you end up doing in the fight.

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Glad I saw this, I just got socked in the eye the other day and nobody knows I wear contact lenses. I let my guard down, got punched lightly, my left contact lens went swimming somewhere in the gallows of my eye, I couldn't see, my eye teared up heavily, and everything was blurry. I finished the round with one eye shut.

So, contact lenses during sparring is not allowed? Should I tell my kru about this and see if he thinks I should practice with no sight correction? At the time, I didn't think much of it, but now that I am reading this I am thinking that I should stop wearing contacts during sparring class. Does it make a difference if my contact lenses are those disposable, 1 month lenses? Thanks! :confused:

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I am nearsighted with astigmatism and I train without lenses. Mine isn't too extreme so I manage all right. Lenses bother me too much to wear so it's glasses when I need them (like to drive) and Macgoo Crew the rest of the time.

I'm pretty much the same, I very rarely wear lenses. I have yet to find a brand that is comfortable for me. Sometimes I wear them to training - but mostly only if it's a seminar kind of class, with lots of people and lots of new stuff. I don't feel comfortable in them, because when I'm in fight stance I have to kind of look up and the lenses don't want to move as fast as my eyes do, so I get blurry vision and have to squint a lot.This doesn't help during sparring ;) 

Maybe i should consider laser operation, too. I'm a bit scared for now, but maybe that's the solution. Though I like my face with glasses on more than without, probably some stupid misconception as someone once told me I look better with glasses on. And here I am, years after that, having an inferiority complex about my natural face <stupid!!!>

Maya, I don't think the brand or type matters. The dailies are usually a bit more flexible and soft compared to the one-month type. I only tried the dailies, not the one-months.

I was curious and once I read through the competition rules of the Polish Muay Thai Association. Using contact lenses is not allowed during competition - probably due to the risk of injury.

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Hi,

I have been training muay thai for 5 years now with a vision of +8. I have never used lenses and i cant get an operation.My bad eye sight was one of the main things preventing me from starting sooner. I was convinced that it would be impossible for me to learn muay thai with such bad vision and that I would be severely handicapped.

The first couple of years of training this were true. I struggled more than my peers with learning the basic moves. This combined with the fact that I was pretty overweight when I started out made me the worst beginner at my gym. The first semester totally sucked to be honest, I remember almost crying before going to class and wanting to puke when the instructor started paring us up for sparring. I knew that every single one there was more athletic than me plus had perfect eyesight.

I pretty much can’t see the face of anyone without my glasses unless they are completely in front of me. This made for some pretty awkward situations when people would greet me from the other side of the gym and me deadeye staring back at them without acknowledging anything. I learned to counter this by faking an overly extrovert version of myself and greeting and smiling to everyone at the gym all the time like a madman, good times.

I learned much about myself during this time, first of all that I’m stubborn as heck. There was no chance in hell that I was going to let my bad eyes and big ass get in the way of my dream of muay thai. I completely dedicated myself (and still am) to the art and became obsessed with moving past this. I had to work harder than everyone else at my gym to get to the level they were, I lost 30 kilos (60 pounds?) and slowly learned how to work past my eyes. I learned the basics and found clever ways to work around my eyesight. Sure, sometimes I miss with the teep, jab like a madman and totally miscalculate kicks, sometimes I’m in the wrong position and struggle to block. But today I feel almost as good as the guys that started at the same time as me, it just took a bit longer.

I have accepted the fact that my eyes will never be perfect and that in some aspects i fall behind. Regardless, I will continue to train and compete in muay thai, and I love every second of it!

In 3 months I will be going to Thailand for the first time and train for a month, look for the awkward looking Norwegian in the corner teeping into the air.

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I don't use contacts myself, but I just wanted to add that to what's already been mentioned about the likelihood of them not staying in during a fight. I can't count the amount of times I've punched a contact lens out in sparring (although I do secretly go 'yesss!' with my inside voice when it does happen, since it means i landed an accurate punch), and it seems really awkward and frustrating for those partners to deal with. There's always that moment of confusion for them when it pops out and they can't see properly, and if that were to take place in a fight situation, I could definitely see a referee stopping it because if they didn't know what was going on, it would look like you just weren't defending yourself. Remember when Tiffany Van Soest fought Sindy Huyer and the ref called a TKO when a teep pulled Sindy's sports bra down and she turned away to stop her boob from falling out? I imagine it would be the same kind of disappointment. 

Anyway, since I have no experience of actually wearing lenses myself, that's all I can offer. I'm glad to see there's a good amount of discussion on this topic because I have often wondered what it's like to deal with this! You guys are awesome.

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Hi,

I have been training muay thai for 5 years now with a vision of +8. I have never used lenses and i cant get an operation.My bad eye sight was one of the main things preventing me from starting sooner. I was convinced that it would be impossible for me to learn muay thai with such bad vision and that I would be severely handicapped.

The first couple of years of training this were true. I struggled more than my peers with learning the basic moves. This combined with the fact that I was pretty overweight when I started out made me the worst beginner at my gym. The first semester totally sucked to be honest, I remember almost crying before going to class and wanting to puke when the instructor started paring us up for sparring. I knew that every single one there was more athletic than me plus had perfect eyesight.

I pretty much can’t see the face of anyone without my glasses unless they are completely in front of me. This made for some pretty awkward situations when people would greet me from the other side of the gym and me deadeye staring back at them without acknowledging anything. I learned to counter this by faking an overly extrovert version of myself and greeting and smiling to everyone at the gym all the time like a madman, good times.

I learned much about myself during this time, first of all that I’m stubborn as heck. There was no chance in hell that I was going to let my bad eyes and big ass get in the way of my dream of muay thai. I completely dedicated myself (and still am) to the art and became obsessed with moving past this. I had to work harder than everyone else at my gym to get to the level they were, I lost 30 kilos (60 pounds?) and slowly learned how to work past my eyes. I learned the basics and found clever ways to work around my eyesight. Sure, sometimes I miss with the teep, jab like a madman and totally miscalculate kicks, sometimes I’m in the wrong position and struggle to block. But today I feel almost as good as the guys that started at the same time as me, it just took a bit longer.

I have accepted the fact that my eyes will never be perfect and that in some aspects i fall behind. Regardless, I will continue to train and compete in muay thai, and I love every second of it!

In 3 months I will be going to Thailand for the first time and train for a month, look for the awkward looking Norwegian in the corner teeping into the air.

Woo, I'm so glad for you that your vision didn't stop your motivation. Stubborn is the MT community ;) 

 

Since my first post in there (I was wondering whether or not continue training with lense, and whether or not cheating for the fight wearing lense), I've start again to train without them (I basically train with lense for ... 2 or 3 month only, I start without lense, and I'm back to it). 

I've seen a huge improve in the way I block and spare when I was wearing lenses, of course seeing more clearly helps to make you react faster ... while without it, it like "oh why is that kick doing here near my face?!". So my defense sucks a bit without lenses, I just get hit and continue hitting, like nothing happen, but I get tired easily and faster. Hence I also need to have a stronger mental, not to loose my confidence, because of being hit so many time.

Of course, there is some good side, I don't get distract by people watching me, since I can't really see anything past my nose haha.

 

For now I think I'll continue training without lenses at least till I get that first fight, then I'll maybe do once a month a week of training with lenses, just to caught up with some technique and see how I've improve during the month.

 

Also good to ask your coach to compare two sparing (one day you come with lenses, the next day without, or within the same day, one round lenses, you take them off and one round without them). I don't know if my coach pay a lot of attention when I spare, but I've ask him a few time "have you seen any difference between day X and day Y?" without telling him, day X was without lenses and day Y with it. Usually I get the same answer "you need to block more, but no I've haven't seen much difference". So or he is a good liar or I don't suck that much without lenses.

 

I recommend to all of you who wears lenses to get daily lenses for sparing (if you only do pad you don't really care), I've lost so many lenses on the ring during sparing, and since it isn't really cheap it's better not to loose or break a monthly ones. 

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I don't use contacts myself, but I just wanted to add that to what's already been mentioned about the likelihood of them not staying in during a fight. I can't count the amount of times I've punched a contact lens out in sparring (although I do secretly go 'yesss!' with my inside voice when it does happen, since it means i landed an accurate punch), and it seems really awkward and frustrating for those partners to deal with. There's always that moment of confusion for them when it pops out and they can't see properly, and if that were to take place in a fight situation, I could definitely see a referee stopping it because if they didn't know what was going on, it would look like you just weren't defending yourself. Remember when Tiffany Van Soest fought Sindy Huyer and the ref called a TKO when a teep pulled Sindy's sports bra down and she turned away to stop her boob from falling out? I imagine it would be the same kind of disappointment. 

Anyway, since I have no experience of actually wearing lenses myself, that's all I can offer. I'm glad to see there's a good amount of discussion on this topic because I have often wondered what it's like to deal with this! You guys are awesome.

 

Hahaha I feel your "mean" excitement, one day a girl spare with me, and got both of my eyes (once you get one, the other is too easy to get since your vision is even more confuse with one lense), and I could totally see a smile on her face, even though she keeps asking me if I was ok. It was like "I feel bad, but also badass" face. 

 

Totally remember that fight with Tiffany and Sindy !!! my breast are too small to relate or compare with the awkwardness and disappointment of "loosing a boob" vs "loosing an eye", but it must be so annoying!

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Well, I've had about 3 days of active sparring while wearing no contact lenses or glasses. It's an acquired taste, lol. I should mention that my prescription is like -7.5 for one eye and -8.5 for another (that's bad)

Before the first day of sparring with no glasses, a teen fighter asked about my glasses (I have never worn glasses to class, just contacts but I switched to glasses so I could take them off and put them on). He mentioned that his eyesight is terrible, too (he does wear thick glasses to practice), but he trains entirely without glasses. He says I'll get used to it over time and that, in a weird way, he can "feel the wind" of a punch before he sees the punch. I'm just a beginner in sparring, so I don't have these awesome spidey senses, so instead I just took a beating because I was used to watching their faces. It really is hard!

I couldn't see their facial expressions or subtle body movements. It was like walking a violent gauntlet blind. On the other hand, not being able to see made me very narrowly focused, since everything else was basically invisible to me, except for the movement of the advancing partner. 

It was really nerve-wracking but by day 2 I was kind of looking forward to the quasi-blind sparring because I figure I had better get used to it and it was like a novel experience, sensing physical movement rather than seeing it with crisp vision. I didn't feel the air of the punch, but I did feel the air of the person lunging or backing off, and that never happened before. It's weird; like this new way of sensing the world! Glad I found this thread or I would never have known it's safest to spar with no contact lenses! Thanks!

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I think if my eyesight gets any worse than it is now (I have like -2 on both eyes) AND I find a brand of contact lenses that don't make my eyes dry out I will definitely train and spar in lenses. There is of course the whole lot of other things you can learn and practice without them, but I want to lear a lot and I feel without seeing it won't happen ;)

Maya, that's actually really nice of the guy to be giving you advice and reaching out. Sweet!

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Is it really a rule that you cannot fight with contact lens on? I fought all mines with them, except for my first smoker/interclub sparring

Definitely helps a lot! However I would have at least one punched out and it sucks. Well seeing with one eye is better than being nearly blind in both. -6 left astigmatizm and -5.25 right, so yeah.. I suggest getting laser surgery or prk if you're serious about it. Financially I am unable to afford it atm but I would get PRK if I could.

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Conflicting stuff on the internet about eye requirements, some seem outdated, others might be a different branch of sports associations. The American Boxing Association says there is an eye exam required for muay thai professionals, but not for muay thai amateurs. (link below)

http://www.abcboxing.com/Medical_Requirements_for_each_Commission.pdf

I also found this link from the international sports contact federation, too, though, which does require at least an acknowledgement of poor eyesight on the doctor's medical authorization form:

http://www.iscfmma.com/ISCFRules12.htm

 

Not too sure now, and I really wish I knew because I'd love to see again! Anybody know for sure what the rules are in California?

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I have appalling vision, and without my glasses nothing - and I mean nothing - is in focus. I never wear any sight correction when training or sparring, and I don't find it a problem. If my trainer is really giving the hard nasty scary stare then I can just about make it out, but otherwise he is, to all intents and purposes, a blurry shape. With arms and legs. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be able to see when sparring, but I do okay. Perhaps it's helped because I do a lot of horse riding with my eyes shut (a very good way of really 'feeling' the horse's movement and your own balance and position). I have hearing problems too, and obviously can't wear my hearing aids when training either. Maybe the whole sensory deprivation thing means that I have a well developed spidey sense!

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(sorry for my english)

I had a laser eye surgery in january for this reason :) 

I couldn't train without lenses, I just couldn't see anything... And my self-confidence was totally off... So in trainings I always worn them.

In my first fight I've worn my lenses, the doctor didn't notice it  :D I know, it's forbidden and dangerous, but I didn't care. 

But in trainings my lenses often fell out when my partner hit me, and if it happens in a real fight, you will be disqualified.. 

So I save up, and had a PRK. 

3 months after the surgery I had a fight, and it was so much better.

I think I'm gonna have surgery soon, how long after the surgery until you can spar?

Thanks

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Same here.

Also getting more information about the laser operation.
I normally wear glasses in my daily life but for training I just take them off (I never ever tried lenses).
But it would be easier without the glasses (also for working life).

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For me, its just 1 of my eyes that is bad, I can barely see with my left eye - maybe like 144p on YouTube. The thing is that my right eye does a lot of work, as it will look as far left as it can and basically allows my left eye to be lazy, which puts strain on my right eye which over time will weaken it to be as bad as my left eye. 

In order for me to keep my right eye strong I will need to get laser eye surgery on just my left eye, to fix it and so it can stop straining my right eye. 

I wonder how this affects my Muay Thai though... I've never really noticed anything, I guess because I never knew any difference. It will be interesting to see if my reaction time and stuff improves afterwards though.

 

The only thing I hate about laser eye surgery is how fricken expensive it is... my optician told me that in order to keep the machine working and to be able to pay off the bills (they rent the machine) they need to keep it active every single day of the year, so if you want cheap surgery go at Christmas or any other time where people don't want to get it done. 

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I wonder how this affects my Muay Thai though... I've never really noticed anything, I guess because I never knew any difference. It will be interesting to see if my reaction time and stuff improves afterwards though.

Wow, your eyes seem to be enduring a lot!

I noticed that I tilt my head to the left, which is "not beautiful" in the Muay Thai world - as the trainer in Thailand told me :D He was fixing it a few times, reminding me to keep my head straight and I just keep on tilting it. I think this is connected to my eyesight as I have astigmatism (which comes and goes), so maybe this is how it affects my Muay Thai :)

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I have my first fight on a proper show this weekend and am debating whether or not to wear contact lenses. I think I'm leaning towards not wearing them as I don't want to risk any accidents or distractions, and I know that once I'm in the ring in front of my opponent I'll be okay. It really is more of a confidence issue as I have sparred and fought in interclubs without lenses.

Although, I seem to have a bit of trouble with finding my distance but that could be due to other factors beyond bad eyesight.

I've been trying to do a lot of visualisation in the lead up and it makes me nervous to think that I'll walk out there and potentially not be able to see any faces or where I'm stepping. I think it'll be a good idea to get there early and have a good look at the venue on the night. Will report back

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I have my first fight on a proper show this weekend and am debating whether or not to wear contact lenses. I think I'm leaning towards not wearing them as I don't want to risk any accidents or distractions, and I know that once I'm in the ring in front of my opponent I'll be okay. It really is more of a confidence issue as I have sparred and fought in interclubs without lenses.

Although, I seem to have a bit of trouble with finding my distance but that could be due to other factors beyond bad eyesight.

I've been trying to do a lot of visualisation in the lead up and it makes me nervous to think that I'll walk out there and potentially not be able to see any faces or where I'm stepping. I think it'll be a good idea to get there early and have a good look at the venue on the night. Will report back

Congrats for your 1st (proper) fight! I would say do whatever make you feel more confident, and focus on your strength, not your 'trouble finding distance' (although I realize it is easier said than done. I'm in the same boat as u with distance prob!)

Whatever you choose, keep us posted about ur fight:) 

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Thanks! Got the win by unanimous decision, it was a great experience. The day before the fight I decided I would wear contacts so I could be completely confident on the night. However, one of my friends was doing her first interclub that same morning and had one of her lens split in her eye on the first punch (the ref ended the match early). So I finally decided that I would not wear contacts and suck it up! I made sure I checked all the stairs and entrance to the ring before it was my time to go, so it didn't end up being much of a problem after all. 

Congrats for your 1st (proper) fight! I would say do whatever make you feel more confident, and focus on your strength, not your 'trouble finding distance' (although I realize it is easier said than done. I'm in the same boat as u with distance prob!)
Whatever you choose, keep us posted about ur fight:) 

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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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