January 7, 2017 – Thapae Stadium, Chiang Mai – full fight video
Oh man, this fight. I don’t have a whole lot to say about the fight itself, it was very short and I was basically rag-dolling Nang Hong, who I’ve beat before. She can’t clinch with me. But she followed some very good advice and used a front elbow to dissuade me or punish me on my clinch entry. You can barely see the elbow that cut me, it’s her left side as I’m reaching around her and my guard is actually up but there’s a hole in it because I turn away and don’t duck in behind my right arm – I got sloppy – so the elbow, although it just barely touched me it was in a perfect spot. There was tons of blood. I was ready to knock her out and she definitely wouldn’t have made it through this whole fight, but the doctor called the fight off in round 2 due to how much blood there was. I was pissed, but it’s his call.
Nang Hong knew how lucky she’d gotten and made a big display about her victory. She even took a photo pointing to her elbow for the Muay Siam publication, but pointed to the wrong elbow. This cut in the long run proved a real impetus for me, as it got me to really start changing my guard, and improve my clinch entry defense. In my next fight Nang Hong’s coach urged the same elbow from another fighter, Baifern, and I really punished her for the technique, trapping her arm more than once.
Post-fight the wonderful Pettonpung girls helped me take off my gloves and Kru Noi, who is head trainer at the gym inside this stadium who helps in my corner, laughed pretty hard at my comment that this cut was just “jeep jeep,” which means nothing much but also kind of means, “I was just flirting.” It’s an awesome photo. Afterward the promoter at that stadium put up the photo of me smiling with the blood gushing down my face and said I had a “diamond heart”, which was really cool since I always think he doesn’t like me much. He’s just a very flat type though, he hasn’t ever actually done anything to demonstrate a dislike for me at all. So the doctor has me lay down for the stitches and he puts a bunch in but the bleeding just won’t stop. It’s a huge mess. So he tells me that I have to go to the hospital for an actual surgeon to close it up. Kevin and I looked at each other, like “no way we have to go to a hospital,” and I asked Pi Daeng what would happen if I don’t go? He shook his head and said I had to go, that the bleeding wouldn’t stop because the cut had opened a vein. Suturing closed a vein is not a “ringside” operation. But he also said the stadium would help pay for the bill, so we decided we’d better just go have someone look at it. It really was just gushing through the stitches and the bandage this doctor had put over it.
Post-Fight Shenanigans and Stitches
While I was in the shower trying to rinse some of this blood off of me, there were these two drunk farang girls outside, trying to pet Jaidee. He was totally freaking out because he didn’t know where I was, so he wasn’t sitting still for them to pet him. Then one of the girls, whose arm was already in a sling for some reason, walked into the wall. Like, didn’t break pace and just face-planted into the wall and fell over. The other girl was kind of getting irritated with Kevin for not stopping and letting her grab Jaidee’s face to give him affection – I guess she thought Jaidee totally wanted to be pet by her but Kevin was moving around too much to let this happen – and I had to say to her, blood gushing out of my face, “sorry, but we really do have to go. I have to go to the hospital.” She looked up, inebriated, and saw my “Carrie” impression and dropped the petting-of-the-dog thing. People are funny.
When we got to the hospital it was late, after midnight for sure. So all my adrenaline had worn off, which is the only anesthetic I ever really have for stitches. The hospital staff were pretty fascinated by my injury but once I explained that I was a fighter and the cut was only about 40 minutes old, they all got into an excited little group and buzzed around the little room they put me in. It was mostly young men and one young woman, but they were kind of on top of one another in such a small space, everyone trying to play a part in this process so they could watch it all play out. When the doctor came in he spoke English to me, even though I had been speaking Thai to him. He took the bandage off and said that the stitches I already had were really good, that the doctor was skilled. Maybe there’s an assumption that ring doctors are amateurs or something, but I’ve only ever had wonderful doctors stitch me up at the ring… except for one time when it was a Dougie Houser situation and the kid probably just never got prior experience. That was a little sketchy. But this doctor shot my forehead full of an anesthetic that really just numbed the entire top of my head, all the way into the scalp. He undid the other doctor’s stitches and then had to go into the cut to suture the vein itself. “It’s really quite deep,” he muttered as he worked. I couldn’t see anything as there was one of those dressing cloths over my face, but I was pretty amazed at how effective this anesthetic was. I was also grateful for it because this long after a fight, stitches really hurt.
Hospital stitches are super tidy. You usually end up getting more thread than you would ringside and they’re super even and symmetrical, so this job was pretty nice. Definitely surgeon-level stitches. I was so stoked on the anesthetic and have had stitches so many times before that I declined his offer for a pain-killer in the prescriptions he sent me home with. Just an antibiotic, which is pretty standard. About an hour after we got home the pain was incredible. I don’t know if it was because of the transition from anesthetic to not-anesthitized, so the pain isn’t something you’ve gradually become accustomed to anyway, or whether it was because this cut had split open a vain as well (that’s a different kind of hurt, severely achy), but this pain was next level. I took a few baths and tried to just figure out something that would make me feel even a little better, but when I started vomiting from the pain, Kevin convinced me to go back to the hospital and ask for that pain-killer after all. I was very reluctant, but we drove back down and waited in the ER until the same doctor could come out and ask what was wrong. I told him my symptoms, he asked if I was concussed (I wasn’t) and then sent me to the pharmacy with a slip of paper. Guess what he prescribed… just guess. Tylenol. Just regular strength Tylenol. F*cking useless. I’m not much of a drug-taker to any degree, but those who do party talk about how easily you can get prescription drugs over the counter in Thailand for recreational use. I’d have to take their word for it because I’ve never tried, but I definitely have met a lot of folks who go down the rabbit hole, so it must be easy enough. But if you go to a doctor, vomiting from pain… you’ll just get Tylenol.
I ended up falling asleep eventually and just had a bad headache for the next few days. We went back to the stadium the next night with a receipt from the hospital and the promoter paid for a large portion of it. He said that next time I should go to a different hospital, where he knows the ER doctor and there’s a hookup to some extent; but they didn’t tell me that the night before so we just went to the hospital we’ve been to before. I was pretty happy they helped with the cost though. I immediately asked for a rematch and there were nothing but huge smiles. (The next time I saw Nang Hong’s coach, about a month later, I said I’d like to fight her again and his response was a very emphatic, “oh, no, no no no!”) On my way out from the stadium I stopped over at the doctor’s table and let him look at the stitches. He nodded and reiterated that he would have let me continue if it had been a later round, but with that much blood in round 2 he felt it was the right thing to do to call it. Sure; I’m not a doctor, so I don’t get to choose. But I told him that the doctor at the hospital had complimented his work on the stitches he did give me and he just sniffed. He knows his work is good, he doesn’t need some kid in some late-night ER telling him so. I thanked him again and smiled at a few of the men and women working at the bars around that stadium, all of whom gave me enthusiastic “yiam!” (“great,” or “awesome”) and a thumbs up. If we could just take a vote from folks in the stadium to determine a rematch, I’d have knocked her out in revenge already.
Post Fight Video Update