Sports: Thailand to host its first major MMA event

(From AP)

Of all the various fighting styles that combine to create the burgeoning sport of Mixed Martial Arts, it is Thai kickboxing which is at the core of the new discipline. Yet it has taken until this week for Thailand to host its first major MMA event.

In this March 3, 2016 photo, One Championship Strawweight champion Dejdamrong Amnuaysirichoke attends a press conference for his upcoming Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, match in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand will host its first major MMA event on Friday, May 27, 2016 despite the country's traditional Muay Thai kickboxing style being the foundation of its fighting technique.

In this March 3, 2016 photo, One Championship Strawweight champion Dejdamrong Amnuaysirichoke attends a press conference for his upcoming Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, match in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand will host its first major MMA event on Friday.

 Initially, there was concern and resistance among the guardians of Thai kickboxing — or Muay Thai as it is known locally — who feared the culturally important martial art would be subsumed by the brash newcomer, draining away fan interest and fighters.
 Partly, also, the delay was because of the lack of a promotable local hero in MMA ranks, and partly because of the difficulty many outside companies face in navigating the regulatory and commercial landscape of Thailand in order to stage an event.

It took a serendipitous meeting between two childhood friends late last year to provide the key to unlocking these problems.

When Chatri Sidyodtong, founder of Asia’s principal MMA promotional company One Championship, met up with entertainment entrepreneur Kamol “Sukie” Sukosol, the first outlines were drawn for an event that will come to fruition this Friday: the ‘Kingdom of Champions’ event in Bangkok. Read More



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