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What are you up to? Update on Sylvie's Fighting

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Hi there!

I wondered what you guys are up to recently. I haven't seen a fight by Sylie for a long time and no updates on the page. So I was wondering a bit what your plans are how you guys are doing? Just out of curiosity....Thank you!

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That is a very good question! Sylvie's dying to fight but things have become very difficult in Thailand, and its very hard for her to find fights at all. The combination of COVID over the last 3 years, and the dominance of 3 round Entertainment Muay Thai has had a serious impact on the female fighting we once knew, and, it seems that Sylvie's reputation as a fighter has cleaned out almost all possible opponents, at least opponents we can find and that promoters have tried to book. The first problem is Entertainment Muay Thai itself. It is a mode of fighting that is designed to help Westerners win, and is pretty far from the Muay Thai that Sylvie came here with passion to learn, so Sylvie has tried to hold a firm line in trying to fight in the traditional 5-round style. It's why she fights. This means that there are fewer promotions and fighting opportunities to choose from. It's really become something of an ethical stance for her, as the encroachment of Entertainment fighting is actively eroding the art of Muay Thai itself, in our opinion, and if she can she doesn't really want to become an advocate for it, if she can avoid it. Who knows how long she can hold out?

COVID for the last couple of years also impacted female Muay Thai in that a lot of the strong local fighters that Sylvie used to face, giving up a lot of weight, have retired from the sport, so there are fewer possible opponents. Areas where we used to fight very frequently, like in Chiang Mai, simply cannot find opponents for her...we are told. There may be opponents in the provinces, there should be, but provincial fighting is pretty insular, and its been difficult to find matchups there. Everyone wants her to fight someone near her weight (for gambling purposes), but there seems to also be the feeling that she's too strong to fight someone near her weight. A top fighter near her weight has turned down 3 different promoters for a match. So we are in a catch-22 situation. Too strong of a fighter, by some reports, and provincial gambling fights don't see giving up big weight as appropriate. This has to do with the culture of fighting. We have several people looking for fights in the provinces, which hold the best traditional fighting in the sport for women, but none of them can find a match.

We can't really seem to crack into Phuket fighting, can't fight in Chiangmai for lack of opponents, local traditional shows like those in Hua Hin can't find anyone who wants to fight Sylvie, and provincial fighting is very difficult to book. It leaves very few opportunities at this point. Sylvie is an exciting fighter and Thais love her when they see her fighting, so it really is just a matter of finding our way into new fight scenes and people enjoying it.

All these problems were exacerbated by a significant injury Sylvie suffered, being thrown from a horse into a concrete fence, which really scared us. Luckily she avoided serious injury, but she was immobile for a few weeks, and it took 6 weeks or so to get back to training. So the hunt for fights took a hit in that time as well. 

So, Sylvie's been training as if she has a fight. She has one lined up in a few weeks (but fights and fighters have pulled out several times lately, so we are just crossing fingers). She's developing as a fighter, sparring with Yodkhunpon every day. It's all good stuff, but Thailand is going through a phase right now, in female fighting. Hopefully the trend will swing back toward traditional fighting, and female Thai fighters will become more numerous now that COVID shutdowns have relaxed.

That's the long answer. The short answer: It's very hard to find fights right now, Sylvie would love to be fighting several times a month, we'd really drive anywhere in Thailand to get them. We are doing everything the same as before. Working hard on the Muay Thai Library project, Sylvie's pushing herself as a fighter, developing in training, and we are looking hard for matchups.

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Thank you for the detailed explanation. I hope you guys can find an inroad somewhere. Maybe the fight in a few weeks will work out. Can you explain a bit more about "Entertainment Muay Thai"? This is a 3 round format? Is it like the Muay Thai Series that is shown on Channel 8? What do you mean by this being more aimed at Westerners? Is it aimed at a Western Audience?

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16 hours ago, Frank_B said:

Can you explain a bit more about "Entertainment Muay Thai"?

Entertainment Muay Thai, in Thailand, are the 3-round fight formats that change the rules and style of fighting, eliminating clinch and strongly discouraging retreating, defensive fighting. In Thailand, it began with MAX Muay Thai. As the original promoter explained, the new ruleset was designed to help Western fighters win vs Thais, with an unspoken sense that it was kind of a reversal of Thai Fight (which at the time was the most popular MT show on television, a promotion which was designed to highlight Thai greatness, often with lopsided matchups. The Entertainment model was designed to do the opposite. The ruleset was anti-Thai, and for the first few years (at least) it was regular to see mismatches that favored Western fighters, vs lower level Thais. It was designed for Westerners to win, or at least win more frequently. The Channel 8 fights were a spin off of the MAX promotion, with their own differences, but also within the Entertainment model. And since then the Entertainment model has taken hold across Thailand, at least in areas promoting tourism.

The Entertainment model, I believe, was also used to evade the control of the Sport Authority of Thailand. These technically were not "Muay Thai fights", they were "shows" for entertainment, so could produce a non-Muay Thai mode of entertainment.

ONE also has followed this model of changing Muay Thai, in a way that favors non-Thai fighters, I suspect so Chatri could produce non-Thai "Muay Thai" champions which are helpful for his marketing his promotion to the West. The ONE version of Entertainment Muay Thai has now been brought to Lumpinee Stadium, which no longer is a National Stadium (in the old sense) and which no longer, for the most part, hosts actual "Muay Thai" fights in the traditional sense.

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OK. I understand. I can see why Sylvie wants to stay away from these type of fights. I tip my hat to you guys for not taking this "bait". I don't blame the promoters of this "Entertainment Muay Thai" to do what they do. In the end, they have to vie for an audience and if they think they can increase their chances like this, then that is that. In a way, that is the downside of Globalization, that local particularities get run over by Global tastes (or what is perceived to be a Global Taste). Nevertheless, I can see why you guys want to stay true to the traditional Muay Thai. It is a fascinating art. Myself, I only learned to appreciate it from Sylvies comments on her own fights.


Well, I hope you guys manage to get the fights you are looking for in the local arenas going forward! Good Luck!

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