August 12, 2015 – Queen’s Birthday at Sanam Luang, Bangkok
This was my second Queen’s Birthday fight at the Royal Fields (Sanam Luang), but last year I was on the Onesongchai promotion which is the “Queen’s Cup,” and this year was the second ring on the adjacent corner of the field, which last year was called the Muay Ying Association but I’m not sure if that’s still the case. I’d done a promotional photoshoot for this card, which I never saw the results from (maybe that’s a good thing; we wore a TON of makeup) and the promoter seemed to know of me but I’ve never worked with him before.
On the morning of this fight we drove up to Bangkok super early, picked up Emma from Master Toddy’s Bangkok Gym and headed over to a hotel where weigh ins were supposed to take place at 6:00 AM; Emma was fighting on this card as well. We walked into the lobby of the hotel and saw a whole pack of very sleepy young women, draped over their backpacks, slumped in their seats, staring into their phones. The promoter came and asked me where Phetjee Jaa was and I didn’t know – she and her family had come to Bangkok the day prior to stay at a hotel and not have to make the two hour drive in the morning… but they were late anyway.
Emma, the group of fighters who were there, the scale and a few head honchos all moved into a conference room and we did a “pre weigh in.” Strangely, the promoter called me to weigh in first. My opponent wasn’t even there yet. So I went up onto this little stage and stood on the scale and it said 45.2 kg, well under the 46 kg mark that had been set for the fight. They then read off names and everyone went up for this check in. My opponent arrived and she went to weigh in, then Jee Jaa and her posse came in looking sharp – she and her opponent checked weight and her opponent had to go cut what sounded like a lot of weight. I couldn’t quite understand what Jee Jaa’s mom was saying about the weight because it seemed simply unbelievable. Either way, only Jee Jaa’s opponent and The Star had to go run off any weight, everyone else cleared in the “pre check” and then again as they read us in fight order to do the official check. After I’d stood on the scale a second time, having swigged some water and now weighing 45.4 kg on the official weigh in, Gaewdaa’s (my opponent) trainer came over and gave me a thumbs up for weighing under 46. He was super happy about it – I think he believes I’m bigger than I am, just because I’ve beat Gaewdaa twice and that was probably the excuse he told himself. I’m also built the opposite of how most Thai women are: big upper body, small lower body, whereas Thais are very small in the arms and can have massively big/strong legs. So to have a big upper body is probably seen as being big all over.
I checked in with the promoter and figured out what time we were meeting for the actual fights at the Royal Fields, then Emma and I headed out. We had to go across the city back to Master Toddy’s to rest and Kevin was waiting with Jai Dee in the car, so we wanted to skip right on out. One of the fighters from the same gym that Emma’s opponent was from called out, “Emma, where you go?” It felt like a tease or something, so Emma just said, “we go home,” and out we went. Unfortunately, we were supposed to stay for pictures, which looked like it lasted a long-ass time. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to be in those photos, since it was a big card with Jee Jaa, Emma, The Star and all that. But I’m also glad we didn’t have to sit there for hours. I stand by our “foreigners are crazy” excuse to duck out.
So that night we had a hard time getting back to the fields because traffic on the Queen’s Birthday is nuts. It took us forever, circling around the field and me asking numerous traffic cops where we could park to finally even get into the damn fields and then find a spot. We were a good hour and a half before start time, but a lot of that time was eaten waiting in line for the bathroom and then getting our uniforms from the promoter (we’d missed that part by leaving the conference room at the hotel). My corner, which is Jee Jaa’s family, showed up just at the moment I was starting to wonder if I should go find Yodying to wrap my hands. Yodying is one of the best 46 kg female Muay Thai fighters in the world, and has become something of a friend on Facebook – we’ve even met for lunch – but she’s semi-retired from Muay Thai, now fighting as a western boxer. She’d offered to corner for me and part of me wishes I’d had her do so, just because I like her so much and my own corner was so very checked out. I love fighting on the same cards as Jee Jaa, but I am a very distant second in priority when I do so. And sometimes in fights like this one it can really affect me.
I felt good going into the fight. I hate three rounds because it’s just too short for me – I really win fights in rounds 4 and 5 – but I’d spent time preparing myself for this to be a difficult one for me. I didn’t prepare correctly, I didn’t really focus on the mental side of dealing with a three round fight, but I did know it was three rounds. One man from my corner, who I hadn’t seen in a really long time as he’s peripheral to the gym, told me that I would lose a three rounder if I played “feemeur” and to just go lock her. Good plan, that’s what I knew to do anyway. But unfortunately I didn’t succeed in that plan at all and Gaewdaa had both prepared for my game and aced her own game. She just shut me out, plain and simple. I threw barely any strikes – literally only three or so – in the entire fight, and re-broke my hand which was nearly healed, in one of them.
It sucked. Warriors of the Mongkon was filming, which was a big “well, this piece of crap fight will be representing me,” kind of let down. They’re lovely people, that film crew and I’m happy I got to talk to and spend time with them a few days later. It was basically one of those fights where you come out and just think, “I didn’t do anything.” Which is a horrible feeling, obviously, but it’s also terribly disappointing and embarrassing. It was all too much. Poor mental preparation, a checked out, disinterested corner, an opponent I was expected to beat, Yodying coming to see me fight, a fight shortened to 3 two-minute rounds, a documentary film crew. Sometimes things just go sideways.
Luckily, I could go more or less straight to Jee Jaa’s corner to film her fight, which she dominated and was amazing in, against one of the best opponents I’ve ever seen her face. Then I spent a long while chatting with Zowee, who I’ve talked with online but only met in person at the show. She’s delightful. We chatted about everything and it kept my mind off my own pity-party until I could go film Emma’s fight from the crowd near her corner. She fought well, despite not doing quite enough to win the fight. A man standing in front of me as the fight started was taking bets. He wanted to bet on Emma but asked the bookie how many rounds it was and was answered 3 rounds. He shook his head and scowled, saying that falang can’t win 3 round fights and decided not to bet after all. I thought this was an interesting assumption on his part – it’s certainly a difficulty for me and something I’m purposefully training to get better at, but I don’t see it as such a wide pattern as he deemed.
Post-Fight Video Update
Here’s an alternate, much better video version of the fight that we found: