Parong Jit │ Mind Power by Rick Caudle

When most people see a Muay Thai Boxing match they only witness the brutal flurry of fists, knees, elbows, and shins. Only those who reach high levels of training or take the time to research the history know that beneath it all there lies an ancient ring sport, rich in wisdom, honor, and philosophy. My instructor, who was from Thailand, would often use the phrase “Parong Jit“.

Loosely translated it means “Mind Power”. As my training got more intense, he would tell me stories of famous Thai Boxers who were known for their almost “Super Hero” powers. Some were famous for the ability to break the leg of their opponents with one kick; some for never losing a match; some for sending out the competition on stretchers; but the ones who impressed me the most were the fighters who were able to continue fighting with incapacitating injuries.

Arturo Gatti, on the right, breaking his right hand in rubber match with Mickey Ward on June 7, 2003.

Arturo Gatti, on the right, breaking his right hand in rubber match with Mickey Ward on June 7, 2003.

Having split two 10 round decisions with “Irish” Micky Ward, Arturo Gatti broke his twice-repaired right hand on an uppercut to the hip in the fourth round of their rubber match on June 7, 2003. Despite having to fight one-armed, Arturo dominated until the final bell. The final scorecards gave it to Gatti: 96–93, 96–93 and 97–92. Ring Magazine called this rubber match “Fight of the Year”. HBO recognized it as one of the 10 best fights of the decade. It is amazing what you can do with this ability to put mind over matter.

Recently, I had an opportunity to experience my own “Parong Jit“. A few weeks into a cross-country trip to California, we decided to return to our home in Tennessee. We left Sonoma County in our motor home around 6:00 pm, not knowing that that less than three hours later disaster would strike.

The driver of a pick-up truck going sixty miles an hour ran a stop sign and hit us broadside. The spinning and twisting of the massive metal that had been our RV is something I will never forget. But what happened in the next few minutes traumatized me forever. When the dust settled, my wife and I were still in the cab but the entire cabin portion was demolished. It was lying partially on the ground and partially on the chassis.

What horrified us was that our five year old son, who had been asleep in the back at the time of impact, was nowhere to be found! We frantically searched the area, crying out his name is screams of panic. Our biggest fear was that he was trapped in the wreckage, which now looked as if someone had tossed a hand grenade into the RV. Even the floor had been ripped out! I immediately began to beg those, who had now stopped to watch, to help me lift the walls that had crumbled. We strained to move the wreckage, so that my wife could climb under and look for our son, but we were unsuccessful.

As we were standing on the chassis, a lady came to the side of the broken walls on the ground. I heard her say softly “Come on out Sweetheart”. From one end of the wreckage, my precious son came crawling out. There wasn’t a scratch on him. He wasn’t even crying. Somehow, a small cubby hole had formed in the middle of the debris. Wrapped in the futon he had been sleeping on, my little boy had been spared. The relief and excitement that followed defies words. I promptly carried him to his mother, who was hysterically crying, fearing the worst had happened. After reuniting my family, I knew that I could not take another step.

I collapsed on the ground beside them, where I remained until taken to the hospital by ambulance. As my collar bone swelled to three times its normal size and my various other injuries made themselves known in a big way, I wondered how I’d been able to move so vigorously minutes ago but now I couldn’t even lift my head. While I drifted in and out of consciousness, my only answer was the love for my son.

End Story MarkEven though my body was damaged, my mind was focused on one thing: the safety of my little boy. Once he was in the arms of his mother, my body shut down, knowing the mission had been accomplished. Since the accident, I have attributed this to many things, both psychological and spiritual. But in its essence, this was truly “Parong Jit“, Mind Power.  [Reprinted from the Winter of 2008 edition of Muay Thaimes®, Vol. II, No. 1]

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Full Results from Lion Fight XX on February 20, 2014

Lion Fight XX

Mashantucket Pequot Foxwoods® Resorts ♦ Casino
Ledyard, Connecticut
Friday, February 20, 2014

Baars vs. UghiLION FIGHT WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP:

Jorina Baars (The Netherlands) def. Chantal Ughi (Italy)
by TKO (Ref Stoppage) after 3 Rounds │ 145 lbs. │ 5×3.

PROFESSIONAL MUAY THAI: FULL RULES:

Sittisuk Por Sirichai (Kingdom of Thailand) def.
Chris Mauceri (United States of America) by Unanimous Decision:
All three judges scored it 48-47 │ 143 lbs. │ 5×3.

Nofer vs. AndradaJohn Nofer (Rami’s Elite in Philadelphia) def.
Jason Andrada (The Ridiculous One from Las Vegas)
by TKO at 2:58 of Round 2 │ 123 lbs. │ 5×3.

“Smokin” Jo Nattawut (Bangkok Boxing in Atlanta) def.
Richard Abraham (Maximus Muay Thai in Chicago)
by Unanimous Decision: 49-44, 49-45 and 48-45 │ 155 lbs. │ 5×3.

Bolanos vs. ArcherGaston Bolamos (Combat Sports Academy in Dublin, California) def.
Caleb Archer (Sitan New York) by KO at 1:05 of Round 3 │ 140 lbs. │ 5×3.

Julio Pena (Hard Knocks Muay Thai in Boston, Massachusetts) def.
Tom Evans (Team United Martial Arts in Providence, Rhode Island)
by KO at 1:33 of Round 1 │ 143 lbs. │ 5×3.

Pena vs. EvansBryce Lawrence (Nak Muay Striking in Naples, Florida)
def. Tim Amorim (Rami’s Elite in Philadelphia)
by Majority Decision: 48-46, 47-47, and 47-46 │ 135 lbs. │ 5×3.

AMATEUR MUAY THAI: MODIFIED RULES:

Phil DaSilva (Redline Fight Sports/North Shore Muay Thai in Boston)
def. Benjamin Anton (Rami Elite in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
by Split Decision: 30-27, 28-29, and 29-28 │ 144 lbs. │ 3×2.

Julian Nguyen (Team Link Muay Thai in Boston)
def. Chris Malloy (Hard Knocks Muay Thai in Boston)
by Unanimous Decision: 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 │ 145 lbs. │ 3×2.

Stacey Scapeccia (Connecticut Combat in Oakville) def.
Colleen Downey (Fighting Arts and Fitness Gym in Boston)
by Unanimous Decision: 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28 │ 123 lbs. │ 3×2.

Greg Muldrew (Sitydotong in Boston) def.
Mike Carbonneau (Hard Knocks Muay Thai in Boston)
by KO at 0:15 of Round 1 │ 245 lbs. │ 3×2.

End Story MarkKris Silck (Hard Knocks Muay Thai in Boston) def.
Brian Gamez (Redline Fight Sports/North Shore Muay Thai in Boston)
by TKO (Ref Stoppage) after Round 2 │ 185 lbs. │ 3×2.

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Full Results from Combat at the Capitale on February 6, 2015

Combat at the Capitale
130 Bowery
New York City
Friday, February 6, 2015

The Capitale New YorkPROFESSIONAL KICKBOXING: K-1/GLORY KICKBOXING RULES:

Zaravkh Abashev (Lions Martial Arts in Brooklyn) def. Dom Biondo (Alpha Omega on Long Island) by Unanimous Decision: 29-28, 30-27, and 30-27 │ 139 lbs. │ 3×3.

Niko Tsigaris (Lions Martial Arts in Brooklyn) def. Lashawn Alcocks (Dambakely Martial Arts in North Carolina) by Unanimous Decision: All three judges scored it 29-28 │ 152 lbs. │ 3×3.

Allan Crowder (Dambakely Martial Arts in North Carolina) def. Aaron Ware (Soo Doo Muay Thai in Detroit) by TKO at 2:59 of Round 1 │ 260 lbs. │ 3×3.

WKA NYS AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP: MODIFIED MUAY THAI RULES:

Malik Blake (Team Tiger Schulmann in NYC) def. James “B52” Smith, Jr. (Mercer Buck Muay Thai in New Jersey) by TKO at 1:36 of Round 2 │ 175 lbs. │ 3×2.

Malik Blake

Malik Blake

WKA NORTHEAST AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP: K-1/GLORY KICKBOXING RULES:

Ariel Abreu (Camp Undefeated in NYC) def. Andrew Ball (Neglia Competition Team in Brooklyn) by TKO at 1:36 of Round 3 │ 185 lbs. │ 4×2.

WKA NYS AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP: K-1/GLORY KICKBOXING RULES:

Mike Trizano (Team Tiger Schulmann in New Jersey) def. Aaron Sifflet (Golden MMA Warriors in NYC) by Unanimous Decision: All three judges scored it 30-27 │ 155 lbs. │ 3×2.

AMATEUR KICKBOXING: K-1/GLORY KICKBOXING RULES:

Justin Muslija (Team Tiger Schulmann) def. Nick Lombardo (Longo Competition Team) by Unanimous Decision: All three judges scored it 30-26 │ 145 lbs. │ 3×2.

Phabion Wilson (Stockade Muay Thai in Kingston, New York) def. Michael Sollecito (Alpha Omega on Long Island) by TKO at 0:20 of Round 2 │ 155 lbs. │ 3×2.

Brandon Cuttino (Team Tiger Schulmann) def. Robert Wallin (Alpha Omega on Long Island) by Unanimous Decision: 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 │ 155 lbs. │ 3×2.

Raquane Alexander (Longo Competition Team) def. Ralphie Erickson (Stockade Muay Thai in Kingston, New York) by TKO at 1:35 of Round 2 │ 155 lbs. │ 3×2.

Shannon Halstead (Dambakely Martial Arts in North Carolina) def. Andy Segovia (Team Tiger Schulmann) by Unanimous Decision: All three judges scored it 29-28 │ 155 lbs. │ 3×2.

Orondo Henry (Soo Doo Muay Thai in Detroit) def. “Mighty” George Maldarelli (Neglia Competition Team) by Unanimous Decision: All three judges scored it 29-28 │ 145 lbs. │ 3×2.

End Story MarkPhumi Nkuta (Longo Competition Team) def. Josh Santos (Stockade Muay Thai in Kingston, New York) by Unanimous Decision: 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27 │ 135 lbs. │ 3×2.

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Ultra Elite Fighters 2015 in Madrid, Spain

Ultra Elite Fighters 2015
Madrid, Spain
February 21, 2015

Ultra Elite 2015 PosterThis will be the first of ten Muay Thai events that will take place in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Argentina.

End Story MarkIf you are interested in participating, please contact Gustavo Luna of Templo Muaythai at [email protected].

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WMC Finding Its Depth on U.S. Soil

If Something Seems Too Good to Be True,
Maybe Its Not

With my first desk in a Wall Street bullpen, the boss read me his insider’s equivalent of a disclaimer. “The learning curve will take you a full market cycle. Bulls make money. Bears make money. Pigs get slaughtered.”

Forty years or so back to the future, “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Pigs have evolved into the dominant economic species. All it took for their learning curve was figuring out how to corner the market in public sector equities. That’s the message, though, in a different media.

Disruptive InnovationsThink of market cycles as kind of collective mood swings. We have our hot streaks. We have our cold streaks. Either we get a little bit wiser and wealthier, on balance, or worse for the wear. In their perishability, by the same token, disruptive innovations and transient tastes enforce The Law of Diminishing Returns through product life cycles.

The Growth Trajectory of Muay Thai’s
Domestic U.S. Product Life Cycle

Sniffing a sweet spot in the market space between Boxing and the UFC, Singapore based commodities trader Pierre Andurand and Total Sports Asia’s brand manager Marcus Luer raised a bundle in venture capital on a prospectus for recycling K-1 Kickboxing. In as much as Thailand’s national sport sits right smack in the middle of their imaginary sweet spot of a market space, Glory rules were pretty obviously a branding decision. The product launched with Spike-TV’s broadcast of Glory 11 from Chicago in October of 2013. It’s since charted the textbook trajectory of a product life cycle.

Unless new products crash and burn on the launching pad, expect an initial burst of growth on the trajectory of finding their customers. On the metric of cable tv viewership, thus, Glory World Series zoomed from zero to 381,000 at take-off. Growth slowed to 476,000 through the second broadcast from NYC, until peaking in Tokyo’s third episode at 659,000. Where the product’s reach exceeded its grasp, audience metrics then went through some fine tuning to settle around a 352,000 – 354,000 national baseline. Like water on an uneven surface, supply and demand eventually found their depth.

GWS TV RatingsDemanding the lowest possible price for consumption’s choice, cable tv viewership orbits the metaphorical outer reach of a gravitational field holding together a sports and entertainment market space like ours. Window shoppers tend to drift off, like itinerant floaters, because they’re not all that motivated to buy. So monetization is the core metric of a product’s tenancy in venture capital’s sweet spot.

It is on this core metric that box office patronage tolls traffic throughout the entire market space from Boxing to the UFC and whatever’s in between. The live gate is also an informative metric for the growth trajectory of Muay Thai’s domestic U.S. product life cycle │ that’s been steadily, if not spectacularly, gathering momentum. With the WMC endorsing AMTL’s Mid-Atlantic roll out, commercial traffic now patronizes Muay Thai box offices continuously from Confederate territory all the way to the outskirts of Yankee Boston. Even MLB couldn’t reconcile such historically bitter rivalries.

Authenticity in BrandingAuthenticity in Branding

Where the job has taken me on occasional tours of the national show circuit – unlike Singapore’s conjurers of some venture capital market space – how often have I witnessed the insularity of group dynamics infecting otherwise rational consumers with a bug to buy the kinds of pigs in a poke or promotional gimmicks that come wrapped in nationally branded championship belts? Let the buyer beware. It is highly unlikely that two of your local yokels are the worthiest title contenders out of a nation that spans an entire continent.

Such pandering to gullibility – in making bogus a product’s unique selling proposition – is a brand cheapening tactic. “A brand is a signal, good or bad, that influences a consumer’s decision to buy a product…Brands aren’t just signals of quality; they also help us communicate our identities…We feel most like ourselves when we’re part of a group…Brands play an important role beyond the simple provision of economic information…[They also give us] a sense of emotional connection, comfort, stability, or belonging.” (“Turning Customers Into Cultists” by Derek Thompson in The Atlantic on November 17, 2014.) So brand cheapening tactics in promotional gimmicks effectively restrict our sport’s growth prospects to local sucker cohorts. Ego stroking – like more intimate kinds of self-gratification – discourages mass market participation.

Champions brand the belts and authenticate the titlesLook no further than U.S. national brand manager Chalermkiat Suvanamas hitching the WBC’s wagon to Dennis Warner’s star for proof that domesticated herds are bred for slaughter. When Warner’s star faded, the lights went out for both of them.

Drawing from the same demographic as ours, by way of contrast, the UFC has succeeded beyond all others exactly because it showcases authenticity. This should be a no-brainer. Champions brand the belts and authenticate the titles. In and of themselves, the belts are just wardrobe accessories that you can pick up in a pawn shop for chump change.

Crowd Sourcing the Box Office

To the extent that branded titles and rankings are perceived as authentic quality indices, they can both inform and motivate market growth. Tease out the message in this media with some reasoning by analogy from the media biz. “The inspiration for Goodreads was to build an online platform that would allow users to link to and rate the books they’d read and also to add books that they wanted to read…it addressed a looming dilemma: discovery was becoming the biggest problem in publishing…If readers were moving online, as they were, then how could publishers show off their wares? Browsing would need to be replaced by vastly superior recommendation engines…connecting people with their friends and also with readers who had similar interests, allowing them to share lists and ratings and reviews.” (“The War of the Words” by Keith Gessen in Vanity Fair in December, 2014.)

Emblem of ThailandBranded titles and rankings, thus, are the “recommendation engines” in our sport. They connect fans throughout the national and global market space in continually discovering rock stars worthy of our patronage. “Perhaps now, more than ever, we ought to be attending to the subject of authenticity, because we’ve already built another tower of Babel…That, of course is our Internet, where any kind of discourse — true or false and all points in between — is fair game.” (Curator Earle Havens of the “Fakes, Lies and Forgeries” exhibition at the George Peabody Library in Baltimore on NPR’s Weekend Edition broadcast on November 30, 2014).

It’s a pretty safe bet, for example, that the authenticity of Muay Thai as it’s practiced in Bangkok – with wagering windows in the concourse – would innovatively disrupt our domestic cottage industry │ which now lives or dies at the box office. Since that’s probably not going to happen, we’re pretty much locked into crowd sourcing the box office in our match making.

With so much of the nation’s economic and population growth below the Mason-Dixon Line, by the same token, AMTL’s box office equivalent of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge now steers Muay Thai towards that sweet spot of a market space in a Southern Strategy. It turns out WMC’s Paulo Tocha sees this Southern Strategy extending all the way down to Chile. “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” [William Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar, Act IV, Scene 3] Way to go, Paulo!

Way to go Paulo!AMTL’s Investment in a Quality Product

Let’s take a due diligence digression here to clarify exactly what quality means in the branding of any product. We measure quality by compliance with the kinds of standards that shape our expectations. Unless you’re expecting a shrapnel shower upon air bag deployment in a car crash, for example, you’d probably consider that a violation of auto vehicle industry quality standards. (“Department Of Transportation Wants Millions More Air Bags Recalled” by Christopher Dean Hopkins in a National Public Radio report on November 18, 2014)

If you don’t think compliance with our own sport’s standards makes the quality of officials an imperative, take the measure of this lament from Penneung Singpatong on the Bangkok circuit. “That was the first time I lost a fight to corruption…I’m sure some judges won’t take bribes, but some are so corrupt that they’ll take anything they can get. They’ll say anything if someone pays them off. It’s illegal, but the regulations aren’t good enough because this kind of thing happens all the time. That was the first time it happened to me, but I know so many other people who have experienced the same thing. It happens all over, no matter what gym you’re from or what stadium you’re fighting at. It’s a big problem.” (See “Voices of Muay Thai’s Next Generation: Penneung Singpatong” by Lindsey Newhall in FIGHTLAND BLOG.)

Coban LookchaomaesaitongCredit Josef Pearson for building his AMTL house on the most solid possible foundation of officiating integrity, with indispensable support from the Commonwealth of Virginia/Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation’s Executive Director David L. Holland:

Referees: Coban Lookchaomaesaitong │ Bumrun Prawatsrichai │ Sa-ngob Putmoun
Judges:    Sa-ngob Putmoun│ Somssak Prawatsrichai │ Sorlouangsana Soukkkaseum

Covering Willie Rivera’s USMTA shows in the Bronx, I always made it my business to sit next to Coban, when he was judging, and to ask him – for my own education – to explain the criteria in his scoring. (For more on Coban, see Rick Caudle’s interview at Full Contact Fighter online.) Compare the quality of such authentic standard bearing – coming to us from 270 fights spanning a 23 year career – with the quantity of venture capital that Singapore’s brand managers have poured into their own foundation of cable tv broadcast production values. (See “Epitaph for Sanity in a Sport’s Fairy Tale” for the truth and consequences of sketchy officiating at Glory World Series.) Only a few fights into AMTL’s undercard, we began to reap the dividends of Josef Pearson’s investment in a quality product.

Jared comes into this show having been hammered by a Joe Logan low kickJared Tipton (Level Up Boxing in Bowie, Maryland)
vs. Rudy Felix (Sitan Gym in New York City)
A-Class Amateurs │ Lightweight (135 lbs.) │ 5×2

Jared Tipton comes into this show having been hammered by a Joe Logan low kick at Warriors Cup XXI on September 13, 2014. Resolved not to let this happen again, he goes to work with a vengeance on Rudy’s lower extremities. Jared does every kind of takedown in the book – sweeps, trips and flips – over and over again. With every takedown, he does a hand pump. Like “score another one for me”. Only the judges aren’t all scoring these for him.

With every takedown, Jared does a hand pumpFouls are codified in “The American Association of Boxing Commissions Unified Rules and Guidelines for Muay Thai”, which bring them under the Commonwealth of Virginia/Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation’s jurisdiction. The Unified Rules for Muay Thai specifically prohibit hip throws and define illegal trips as follows:

  1. ILLEGAL TRIPS:
  2. If a Fighter positions a Foot next to the Opponent and Twists him/her over the Leg, it is an illegal Trip unless the Leg is cleared as the Opponent falls.
  3. If a Fighter Spins or Pulls the Opponent over the inside or outside of the Leg and Dumps him/her on the ground, it is an illegal Trip when the Leg being used to Manipulate and Dump the Opponent stays in that position as he/she goes down.
  4. If the Leg is Set and stays in that position, it is an illegal Throw or Trip.
  5. The Leg must Clear immediately after the Opponent is Pulled or Tripped over the Knee. Clear means that the Leg must be moved out of the way before the Opponent hits the canvas by skipping the leg or slightly jumping to the side, as long as it is moved from the original position. Taking out an Opponent’s Footing is legal only if the Tripping Leg is withdrawn from contact as he/she falls to the ground.

Rudy’s takes “the current when it serves”Although Jared dominates the fight with these tactics, dispensation from the ref doesn’t mean that he’s not conceding points to Rudy’s taking “the current when it serves”. The day might yet come in this country when Muay Thai, San Da and K-1/Glory Kickboxing rules all meld into some kind of indeterminate mishmash on the order of stand-up in the cage. Until then, we’ve got to abide by the law or “lose our ventures”, unless of course we’re too big to fail. Washington, D.C. is the belly of the beast, after all, with the world’s richest market for trading in public sector equities.

Winner: Rudy Felix by Split Decision

Ahmet Kairetli (Kaizen MMA in Falls Church, Virginia)
vs. Caleb Archer (Renzo Gracie in New York City)
WMC Lightweight Title Match │ 5×3

WMC puts three vacant All American titles up for grabs in the main events: Lightweight, Super Lightweight and Welterweight. Costa Rican sensation Maruicio Calvo Siles (Sumalee Boxing Gym on Phuket Island in Thailand) is supposed to make the hemispheric case for Lightweight bragging rights throughout all of the Americas, but he cancels a week or so before the show. Because we don’t charm any fans by refunding their tickets, NYC’s Caleb Archer gets a call.

Caleb succeeds in getting Scott Kent’s attentionRarely do pinch hitters succeed in prize fighting. Peter Kalejevic comes to mind, also for seeming to have locked the coordinates into his GPS for The Fountain of Youth. Jo Nattawut could be another fellow traveler. Despite taking his lumps – when insufficiently charged batteries drain – Caleb does succeed in getting Scott Kent’s attention for a gig at the next Lion Fight in Foxwoods on February the 20th.

If Ahmet Kairetli isn’t exactly a household name outside of the Beltway, he’s now got a title to defend. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Instead of being able to pace his progress through the learning curve – having cut in front of the line – the footsteps that Ahmet should be hearing right about now all aim for the bull’s eye on his back. Take a lesson from Kevin Ross. You’ve got to beat the best to be the best.

Winner: Ahmet Kairetli by Unanimous Decision

Ahmet now has a title to defendPhanuwat ‘Coke’ Chunhawat (Dek Wat Muay Thai in Oakland, California)
vs. Carlos Lopez (White Lotus Muay Thai/Disciple MMA in Sterling, Virginia)
WMC Super Lightweight Title Match │ 5×3

Among the best that Kevin has beaten are Matt Embree and Phanawut ‘Coke’ Chunhawat. Branding doesn’t get any simpler for a weight bracket in this sweet spot of a market space. Just match any two of these three and you’ll get a proven winner on Yelp. If there’s a liability in this contingency, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” (From the 1969 Rolling Stones LP “Let It Bleed”, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) You absolutely need to monetize the box office.

Enter Carlos Lopez with a Beltway box office magnet. On the strength of his UD conquest of Rami Ibrahim – who’s twice held his own with ‘Coke’ – Carlos could legitimately be ranked in the top five nationally for title contention. (See “Lightening in a Bottle” about Lion Fight XVII at Foxwoods on August 1, 2014) Since 34 year old ‘Coke’ has a history of insufficiently charging his own batteries, this match has the makings of youth vs. experience.

Carlos shows that he’s capable of holding his own with ‘Coke’

Although life is full of surprises, it’s never more so than with Phanuwat ‘Coke’ Chunhawat. You only beat ‘Coke’ by taking the fight to him, unless he’s beating himself. Instead, ‘Coke’ brings his A-Game and puts his pedal to the metal for five torrid circuits around the track.

Youthful contenders like Carlos have to earn their stripes on the measure of a 146-24-1 record that once earned ‘Coke’ a #2 ranking in Lumpini Stadium. Tentative in his lapses, Carlos concedes too much initiative. Each and every time, these concessions translate into points for ‘Coke’ on the scorecards. Although Carlos shows the partisan crowd that he’s capable of holding his own with ‘Coke’ – even though we’re in the belly of the partisan beast – transparency proves to be the best vaccine against a potential epidemic of toxic assets. Prospect’s promise needs to up its game some to conquer rather than just survive this caliber of competition. Who needs to be reminded that Coke himself has yet to take the measure of Ognjen Topic, Matt Embree and Kevin Ross?

Winner: Phanuwat ‘Coke’ Chunhawat by Unanimous Decision

'Coke' brings his A-GameJustin Greskewicz came out of the NYC circuit at a time, when the amateur ranks were functionally equivalent to indentured servitude, owing to the general unwillingness of local promoters to pay pro purses. Rather than trampling down the vineyards, where the grapes of wrath are stored, Justin did pretty much what Kevin Ross was doing. They both took the road less traveled.

Justin and Kevin both are native to Pennsylvania. Kevin moved from Reading to Las Vegas in order to train with Master Toddy. So he was in the right place at the right time, when Dennis Warner got the Las Vegas Hilton to showcase his WCK brand. With the most gym enrollment in town, Master Toddy’s patronage meant a lot for Warner’s box office. That’s how Kevin’s star came to align with Dennis Warner’s commercial imperatives. Dennis featured Kevin at the Hilton and punched his ticket on the Orient Express. The rest is history.

The numbers never crunched like this for Justin on the NYC circuit. However many friends and family made the trip from Philadelphia, Rigel Basalmico’s Cool Hearts was a small fish in a very big pond. For Justin to eventually become a box office hit, he had to make the leap from herd management to name recognition. So he did.

Justin made the leap to name recognitionLike no one else before him, Justin’s brand does a brisk business in tickets throughout all of the local gym outlets. Who says cable tv is the only way to reach a wider audience? It is rather the audience that reaches our sport through media connections. Always put the horse in front of the cart, even in Singapore.

Justin Greskewicz (Stay Fly Muay Thai in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
vs. Jeremy Carper (Coalition MMA in Martinsburgh, West Virginia)
WMC Welterweight Title Match │ 5×3

Not for the first time, Justin Greskewicz contends for a prestigious title on the strength of national name recognition, rather than his tale of the tape or – like Ahmet Kairetli and Carlos Lopez – local crowd sourcing skills. The last time I saw Jeremy Carper, by the same token, he was contending for a contract in Lou Neglia’s NYC edition of The Road to Glory show at 165 lbs. Trimming down to 147 pounds, Jeremy’s cut a lot of weight. If Jeremy’s stamina doesn’t abandon him, the visibly bigger Carper plans to out muscle a natural Welterweight, assuming Philadelphia’s ‘Purple People Eater’ takes the bait.

Justin reminds us that self-defense makes it possible for brains to beat brawn. He goes stick and move like I’ve never before seen him do. From his weight cutting, Jeremy struggles to keep up the pace. The hunter becomes the hunted.

If Jeremy plans on finishing it early, “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it”. He gets it in a flying knee that stuns him. It is Justin, then, who finishes it early. The message in this media is never under estimate the mind game.

Winner: Justin Greskewicz by KO at 1:08 of Round 3

Justin finishes it earlyEarly in Justin’s career, he and Pittsburgh’s Mark Deluca were each other’s nemesis. They fought each other like a gazillion times. For the most important fight in Justin’s career, guess who cornered him?

It is Muay Thai’s practice – in performing the Wai Kru – to make a show of respect to our teachers, to our ancestors and also to our adversaries. TV broadcasters absolutely gag, when we do this, because they’re genetically anal retentive about air time. They’d much rather pander to any appetite in the public space for behavior that brings out the beast in us.

A fundamental difference between the actual martial arts and mixing some facsimile of them for mass consumption, thus, spans the cultural divide in how we express what civilization means to us. Between Justin Greskewicz and Mark Deluca, respecting each other paid both of them back. Only in the ring or the cage is it a zero sum game. It is humanity’s capacity for collaboration, rather than for hostility, that puts our species on top of the food chain.

For the most important fight in Justin’s career, guess who corners himFULL RESULTS
Sanctioned by the World Muay Thai Council (WMC)
in Bangkok, Thailand

WMC ALL AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP BOUTS:

Justin Greskewicz (Stay Fly Muay Thai in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
def. Jeremy Carper (Coalition MMA in Martinsburgh, West Virginia)
WMC Welterweight Title Match │ 5×3

Phanuwat ‘Coke’ Chunhawat (Dek Wat Muay Thai in Oakland, California)
def. Carlos Lopez (White Lotus Muay Thai/Disciple MMA in Sterling, Virginia)
by Unanimous Decision: 50-49, 50-48 and 49-48.
WMC Super Lightweight Title Match │ 5×3

Ahmet Kairetli (Kaizen MMA in Falls Church, Virginia)
def. Caleb Archer (Renzo Gracie in New York City)
by Unanimous Decision: 50-44, 50-45 and 49-47.
WMC Lightweight Title Match │ 5×3

Carper plans to out muscle a natural WelterweightPROFESSIONAL MUAY THAI: FULL RULES:

Greg Rowe (Five Points Fitness in New York City) def.
Kelly Huston (White Lotus Muay Thai/Disciple MMA in Sterling, Virginia)
by TKO after 3 Rounds (Concession).
Super Welterweight (154 lbs.) │ 5×3

AMATEUR MUAY THAI: MODIFIED RULES:

Asa Hart Ten (Legend Muay Thai in West Palm Beach, Florida)
def. Neil Mustafa (Rami’s Elite in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
by Majority Decision: 50-45, 49-49 and 49-48.
A-Class Amateurs │ Super Lightweight (140 lbs.) │ 5×2

Rudy Felix (Sitan Gym in New York City) def.
Jared Tipton (Level Up Boxing in Bowie, Maryland)
by Split Decision: 50-49, 48-50 and 49-48.
A-Class Amateurs │ Lightweight (135 lbs.) │ 5×2

Evan Reed (White Lotus Muay Thai/Disciple MMA in Sterling, Virginia)
def. Jonathan George (Seapeanong Muay Thai in Lorton, Virginia)
by KO at 1:38 of Round 2.
A-Class Amateurs │ Super Lightweight (140 lbs.) │ 5×2

Brian Hansen (Five Points Academy in New York City) def.
Allen Hargrove (Champion Boxing in Rockville, Maryland)
by Unanimous Decision: 50-45, 50-45 and 50-46.
A-Class Amateurs │ Light Heavyweight (175 lbs.) │ 5×2

Joey Hernandez (Sitan Gym in New York City) def.
Nimron Bibbin (Maryland Combat Sports Academy in Jefferson, Maryland)
by Unanimous Decision: 50-47, 50-45 and 50-47.
A-Class Amateurs │ Welterweight (147 lbs.) │ 5×2

Rolando Valdez (UFC Gym in Bethesda, Maryland) def.
James Green (Team Coban in New York City)
by Unanimous Decision: 50-46, 50-45 and 50-46.
A-Class Amateurs │ Super Welterweight (154 lbs.) │ 5×2

Diana Metzger (White Lotus Muay Thai/Disciple MMA in Sterling, Virginia)
def. Mel Odria (Seapeanong Muay Thai in Lorton, Virginia)
by Unanimous Decision: 30-27, 30-29 and 30-27.
B-Class Amateurs │ Mini Flyweight (105 lbs.) │ 3×2

Commonwealth of Virginia/Department of
Professional and Occupational Regulation
:
Executive Director:          David L. Holland
Program Administrator: Tracy Fagan
Referees:   Coban Lookchaomaesaitong │ Bumrun Prawatsrichai │ Sa-ngob Putmoun
Judges:      Sa-ngob Putmoun│ Somssak Prawatsrichai │ Sorlouangsana Soukkkaseum
Ring Side Physician:     Dr. Richard Ashby
Locker Room Inspectors: Lamont Clayton │ Mark D’Attilio │ Bill Forbes │ Gary Redd │ Andrew Wright │ Marcus White │ Shane Flower

End Story MarkCLICK HERE for Creative Hysteria, LLC’s Photo Gallery. CLICK HERE for Dan Eric’s Photo Gallery.

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Lion Fight XXI to Debut in California at Pechanga Resort Casino

Lion Fight 21 PosterLion Fight XXI
Pechanga Grand Ballroom
Friday, March 27, 2015

Airs live on AXS TV
10:00 p.m. ET │ 7:00 p.m. PT

America’s Poster Boy Kevin Ross goes to even the score with Japanese WBC Super Lightweight World Champion Tetsuya Yamato.

Fight NightCO-MAIN EVENT:
Tiffany Van Soest vs. Chajmaa Bellekhal

FEATURED FIGHTS:
Victor Saravia vs. Sam Poulton
Nick Chasteen vs. Clement LaCroix
Malaipet vs. Ben Yelle
Josh Shepard vs. Jose Lopez

Pechanga Resort Logo

 

Ticket on sale at Pechanga Resort & Casino
or by calling the Pechanga’s Box Office at 877-711-2946

Lion Fight XX
Foxwoods Resort Casino
Friday, February 20, 2015

Lion Fight 20 Poster

End Story MarkTickets for LION FIGHT XX are on sale now starting at $25 and are available at the Foxwoods’ Grand Theater. Tickets are also available through Foxwoods.com or by calling the Foxwoods’ Box Office at 800-200-2882 or Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. LION FIGHT XIX airs live on AXS TV starting at a special time, 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Visit LIONFIGHT.com for news, information and event updates, and follow on Twitter @LIONFIGHT.

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

Criminal Justice in America Grants Immunity to ‘Unregulated’ Fights to the Death

When something bad happens, almost never is it an accident. Somewhere, somehow, some way, someone broke the rules. Rules of the road patrol the frontier between safe and sorry.

Whether roads are paved with good intentions – give or take – that’s not exactly why we go to the fights. Guaranteed something bad will happen, where rules can be broken with impunity. This was the proximate cause of what killed 24 year old ring rookie Dennis Munson, Jr. If you’ve got a thin skin, don’t watch “Death in the Ring”.

Dennis Munson - Substitute Photo“No one is investigating Munson’s death. The state says it has no authority to investigate the death or the actions of those in charge that night because it was an unregulated event.” (“Milwaukee kickboxer Dennis Munson Jr.’s death follows cascade of errors by fight officials” by John Diedrich in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on November 15, 2014)

Unlike roads that are paved with good intentions, Milwaukee District Attorney John T. Chilsom’s misunderstanding of his job description also patrols a frontier: between regulation of commerce and auditioning for poster boy in the Criminal Justice Hall of Shame. (See “District Attorney Analysis of Why Criminal Charges Not Filed in Dennis Munson Jr. Death” in Combat Sports Law on November 19, 2014.) This is turning out to be one sorry stretch for District Attorneys going off the radar, like Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

A career French diplomat told me a long time ago what makes America unique is its national identification with the rule of law. In our consent to be governed under the U.S. Constitution, we’ve organized around the moral imperative of justice for all. It is a guiding principle. Justice cannot and should not be beholden to legislative discretion in the regulation of commerce, including sports like kickboxing in Wisconsin or anywhere else.Milwaukee D.A. John T. Chilsolm

District Attorneys do not need regulatory permission slips from their state legislatures to go after willful negligence, reckless indifference or wrongful death │ whenever or wherever. Just because it’s not regulated doesn’t mean someone couldn’t run ropes around a raised square of canvas and trick up some gladiators. (See “New York’s real-life fight club” by Dina Abdel-Haq in Salon on July 6, 2013.) Our consent to be governed by the rule of law in America makes bogus the copping of a prosecutorial plea to “Civilization and Its Discontents”. Fights to the death should be subject to the rule of law │ with or without regulatory mandates. Justice denied is contempt for our consent to be governed by moral imperatives.

Rage without the Cage

Fashion’s passion for Muay Thai’s sexy tricksWithin the legal lexicon, rules that are definitional hoard meaning in specificity. They abhor ambiguity. There is no such thing, thus, as almost or a little bit pregnant. Either she is or she’s not. Neither does Muay Thai surrender its integrity to fashion’s passion for all those sexy tricks. Stand Up in the cage is not the same as Muay Thai, just because some talking head with a microphone says so.

Phanuwat ‘Coke’ Chunhawat vs. Chris MauceriThe first time I personally witnessed “MMA Creep” was at a Fairtex United States Muay Thai Federation show in the Santa Clara Convention Center on June 13, 2009. At the rules meeting, CSAC’s Danny “Bam Bam” Stell actually admonished officials to be vigilant for rule infractions coming off a World Combat Sports show two weeks earlier, where Muay Thai had alternated with MMA at the Kezar Pavillion in San Francisco. Phanuwat ‘Coke’ Chunhawat hadn’t yet mellowed out and caught a DQ at that World Combat Sports show, if you can believe it, for trying too hard.

Sure enough Erik Luna (American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose) would do a ground & pound on Clifton Gross (Sitan Arizona). Instead of laying a DQ on Erik, CSAC’s ref went through the formality of a count on the way to awarding Luna a KO. Even though the ref knew better – or should’ve from the rules meeting – he still made the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) complicit in a flagrant rules violation. (“California Dreaming Conjures Visions of a Muay Thai Paradise” in the Winter of 2009 edition of Muay Thaimes®, Vol. III, No. 4.)

“Swarm and Storm”

Pedro Gonzalez comes into Lion Fight XIX ranked #1 on New England’s Pro MMA circuitIt is thus that Pedro Gonzalez (Redline Fight Sports in Boston, Massachusetts) comes into Lion Fight XIX ranked #1 in his weight bracket with a 10-5-0 record on New England’s Pro MMA circuit. Coveting a UFC spinoff blockbuster, “MMA Creep” now seems to be giving this self-defined Muay Thai promotion a case of mission creep. “Part of the genius of Lion Fight’s matchmaking”, according to the promotion’s own branding campaign, “is scheduling MMA converts against Muay Thai traditionalists.”

If this proposition seems to be a little off message, it’s probably because the “converts” they’re really after are MMA’s fans. Neither Pedro nor his team mate Matt Doherty – a rookie on New England’s Pro MMA circuit – have any discernible intention of converting their Stand Up in the cage to Muay Thai. “I have short term goals and long term goals”, Doherty declares in an Extreme MMA News interview heading into his Muay Thai gig at Foxwoods. “I have just signed a 6 Fight deal with CES up at Twin Rivers Casino and joined the CES family…So my goal at the moment is to train my ass off, help my team become monsters and have myself take the CES division to a whole new level…My all-time goal is to make a big promotion like the UFC.”

Matt Doherty has no discernible intention of converting from Stand Up to Muay ThaiWhat Matt Doherty and Pedro Gonzalez are doing for the Lion Fight brand at Foxwoods, thus, pales next to how they’ve been doing it. Pairing “Muay Thai traditionalists” with “swarm and storm” sets a transparent stage for rage without the cage. “I love to just stand and strike with somebody that will do that with me,” Matt tells his fans. “You don’t always get to do that in MMA.” Pedro is equally candid. “I don’t really throw anything traditional”. Why should he, if Foxwoods refs don’t seem to mind grope-a-dope?

Rungrat Sasiprapa (Sasiprapa Gym in Bangkok │ Kingdom of Thailand) vs.
Pedro Gonzalez (Redline Fight Sports │ North Shore Muay Thai in Boston, Massachusetts)
Full Rules Muay Thai │ 143 lbs. │ 5×3.

It takes only one round for Rungrat Sasiprapa to figure out he’s been conscripted into a brawl with indeterminate rules. If the ref is going to let Pedro’s storm surge converge, two can tango to “Dirty Dancing”. Rungrat goes Lethwei with a head butt. “Swarm and storm” spills into a Bangkok blood bucket.

Maybe Rungrat figures this is what “traditionalist” means in American scripting. Referee Tom Sconzo doesn’t think so and penalizes him a point. It’s the point where Rungrat realizes he better not leave this one to the judges. Mister #1 ranked on New England’s Pro MMA circuit seems also to realize, at this point, his rising tide escorts a monster monsoon.

Let’s pause here to mend some cracks in this lamest of media’s due diligence fences. “Diversification, a popular practice in the business world, is now spreading like wildfire among pro fighters eager to test themselves in a variety of different martial arts competitions.” Beware of forcing facts to fit a theory. Diversification is actually an investment strategy. In managing a successful business, the smart money puts its focus on core competencies, if you really want to go there.

Lion Fight 19

With 15 professional cage fights, Pedro Gonzalez was way overmatched against 1-0-0 Nick Chasteen (Best Muay Thai in Tempe, Arizona) at Lion Fight’s Foxwoods premier on May the 23rd. Lion Fight XVII then comp’d the Boston bludgeoner even more of a mismatch for the pro debut of Tim Amorin (Rami’s Legendary Gym in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) on August the 1st. Just so much of a diversification case can be made for this kind of match making, before it defaults to bullying. Taking it to a 19 year old with 5x more OJT in a 50-24-1 professional record, Pedro is about to find out how the bait feels in bottom fishing.

An offended national pride demands to be avenged.  Photo by Dan Eric for Muay Thaimes®.

An offended national pride demands to be avenged. Photo by Dan Eric for Muay Thaimes®.

Thais are a proud people, and Muay Thai is their national sport. An offended national pride demands to be avenged. This could explain why Rungrat abstains from an easy win, which would also risk sending “MMA Creep” the wrong message. Even Pedro knows that he’s blood in the water after the head butt. Never mind the proxy pundits, who can’t possibly hear what’s not broadcast on the AXS-tv sound track or see with their own eyes the severity of a cut.

Rungrat proceeds instead to school not just Pedro, but all of the heretics outnumbering us, in the efficacy of a martial art that’s been twelve hundred years in the making. “Scholars believe that all South East Asian Indochinese kickboxing styles originate from what is thought to be the migrated Indian kingdom of Funan just prior to the creation of the Khmer Empire; consequentially Kun Khmer, Muay Thai, Lethwei and Tomoi all share similar stances and techniques.” Mastering the space between them, Rungrat validates how artful clinching prevails over mindless muscularity. “The clinch is used to wear down the opponent. In the clinch, opponents battle for dominant position for short range strikes by way of elbows and knees.”

Where Stand Up in the cage dilutes style and technique out of having to hedge against a take-down, Rungrat mixes finesse with ferocity in the Muay Thai clinch. Torpedoes impersonating knees detonate their war heads on Pedro’s torso. The Thai fires them in fusillades. They do grievous bodily harm. Rungrat renders the #1 ranked mixed martial artist on New England’s pro circuit incapable of remaining erect.

A jack of all trades is master of noneNot only isn’t Muay Thai the same as Stand Up in the cage, “a jack of all trades is master of none”. Referee Tom Sconzo calls a cease fire at 2:42 of Round 4 in this triumph of core competencies over diversification’s risk │ reward tradeoff. Then it’s the fat lady’s turn to sing.

Winner: Rungrat Sasiprapa by TKO

Let No Good Deed Go Unpunished

Notwithstanding robust demand for mixing martial arts, popular sentiment is a notoriously perishable commodity. On the metric of product life cycles, Muay Thai’s spans more than a millennium. Who doesn’t buy survival of the fittest in such staying power, there’s a message in this media: new isn’t necessarily improved.

Showcasing ‘The Soul in the Savagery’ makes a stronger case for appealing to convertsRe-packaging doesn’t so much win converts as maintain brand loyalty within a consumer cohort. So packaging Stand Up in the cage with a Muay Thai wrapper probably prolongs the UFC’s shelf life more than win converts to Lion Fight’s brand, unless there’s a unique selling proposition. Showcasing ‘The Soul in the Savagery’ makes a stronger case for appealing to converts, while also maintaining brand loyalty among Lion Fight’s core consumer cohort.

Having to push tickets through the narrow distribution channel of local gym membership – in order to monetize match making through pay to play – takes some of the edge off Lion Fight’s mission creep. Only Scott Kent would go large, by the same token, for the likes of Chajmaa Bellekhal, Caley Reece and Fabio Pinca to feature in a Foxwoods show.

Sean Kearney (Iron City Muay Thai in Vancouver, British Columbia │ Canada)
vs. Jo Nattawut (Bangkok Boxing in Atlanta, Georga)
Full Rules Muay Thai │ 161 lbs. │ 5×3.

In the spirit of letting no good deed go unpunished, Fabio Pinca pulls out of his Lion Fight Super Lightweight title defense a day before the show, because he doesn’t feel 100%. Having just passed his medical, though, Fab Fabio presents no clinical symptoms that the doc can find.

Jo Nattawut wins every round on all of the score cardsRisk without reward leaves Lion Fight CEO Scott Kent’s bank account worse for the wear from Team Pinca’s airfare, liability insurance premiums, binders, licensing fees, labs and medical exam. Never mind blowing off the fans, who’ve not only bought show tickets but also toughed out the New England Turnpike. If you detect some editorial je ne sais quoi from moi [high school French for WTF?] I’ve seen Kevin Ross report to work at Lion Fight IX with borderline pneumonia.

Jo Nattawut substitutes for Fab Fabio on less than a day’s notice. Picture him packing a bag and jumping in the cab right after hanging up the phone with Scott, then snatching Khunpon Dechkampu on the way to Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport. Winning every round on all of the scorecards, either Jo’s mug belongs on a Wheaties box or Fab Fabio probably didn’t need 100% in the first place to successfully defend his Lion Fight title against Sean Kearney.

Winner: Jo Nattawut by Unanimous Decision

Chajmaa Bellekhal (Hemmers Gym in Breda │ The Netherlands) vs.
Jeri Sitzes (Budo-Kai Fight Game Gym in Springfield, Missouri)
Full Rules Muay Thai │ 124 lbs. │ 5×3.

“When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions!” [Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5] Caley Reece (Riddlers Gym in Perth, Australia) parachutes out of the emergency exit ahead of Fab Fabio, making for twin title defense cancellations on short notice. With only ten days to get ready for a main event, former NABF champ and WCL veteran Jeri Sitzes postpones a scheduled wedding date – which probably precipitates an even tougher fight – necessitating a focus on her own core competencies.

It is necessary for Jeri Sitzes to focus on core competenciesLet’s pause here again for another due diligence digression. Muay Thai is itself a mix of martial arts. Descending from unarmed combat on the battlefield – through Muay Chaiya, Muay Korat, Muay Tasao, Muay Jerng and eventually Muay Boran – it combines knee, leg and elbow strikes with clinch grappling and conventional Marquis of Queensberry boxing. From the molecules of its DNA, thus, there is no one size fits all in either the practice or judging of Muay Thai.

Western judges are apprenticed to score on a hierarchy of strikes for pretty much the same reason drill sergeants go through the numbers with boot camp newbies to instill military literacy. For all of Muay Thai’s complexity, though, there is no victory in battle without someone getting beaten. Kru Tony Moore, who founded the British Thai Boxing Council, articulates it like this: “Points are awarded for the power, hitting a target area and technical ability of the technique.”

Recognizing that such determinations leave a lot of room for subjective “judgment”, there is nothing subjective about Chajmaa Bellekhal’s broken nose and eye socket. Two of the judges seem to miss this completely, one of whom gives the Dutch star all five rounds.

There is nothing subjective about Chajmaa Bellekhal's broken nose and eye socketBecause flawed judgment exacts a toll on all human enterprise, Quality Control helps to fix what needs fixing. So management earns its keep by evaluating job performance against applicable professional standards. Maybe a judge needs more schooling. Just like the athletic performances they’ve been hired to judge, it’s also possible that some just can’t measure up. If the stewards of our sport don’t own up to accountability, the fans will do it for │ to them. Except for having to wear a winter coat, Scott Kent probably feels like he never left NSAC’s jurisdiction. Although Chajmaa Bellekhal gets the decision, Jeri Sitzes wins their fight.

Winner: Chajmaa Bellekhal by Split Decision

The last time an American scored rock star in a weight bracket that really matters on Thailand’s hit parade was never. Nowhere near front runner in America’s race to the top would I have expected to see an alumnus of the NYC circuit, owing to full rules Muay Thai having been remedial at the time Ognjen Topic matriculated in this most parochial of schools. A school yearbook – if we can imagine such an ancestor to the New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame – would’ve singled out the promising local prospect as best “Stylist” in his class.

Rungravee comps unworthy challengers the first two rounds to flail till they failAfter one of those incomprehensible verdicts at the Friday Night Fights in New York City, NJMT’s Kru Ray Cruz commiserated with me. “Exactly what standards should I teach to my students, Bob?” That’s when I got on the WKA’s case to clean up its act in my home town. [LOL] Ray’s lament would turn out to be déjà vû in the wake of an unapologetically home town bias in NSAC’s balloting at Lion Fight 2 in Primm, Nevada. (“Blood Oath Stirs an American Awakening” in the Summer of 2011 edition of Muay Thaimes®, Vol. V, No. 2.) That’s when I went on the warpath for common core standards in this sport’s stewardship.

The standards Kru Ray Cruz prizes so highly – along with Ognjen Topic’s testing positive for “traditionalist” in the Thai style – flow like twin tributaries into a metaphoric river delta of values, beliefs, traditions and practices that cradle Thailand’s living civilization. NJMT’s two spirit guides – Ray Cruz and Joe Bumanlag – precede their star student to Thailand in the late 90’s to apprentice at the Saktaywan Muay Thai Camp under Lumpini and Rajadamnern stadiums’ top ten ranked Thanosak Sor. Plantalae and Ajarn Pra Sit Thang Dong. In such an analogue for a purposeful dynamic, the promising local prospect’s career development traces a pilgrimage as perpetual as spiritual growth always having to chase a moving target.

Who doesn’t jump all over a tax holidayCompare New England cage convert Matt Doherty’s candid confessional with this “Pilgrim’s Progress” towards his own date with destiny. “I recently spent seven months in Thailand training. I had five fights, winning two of them, but the experience raised my game a lot…You have to put a lot of effort into something to get a lot out of it. Muay Thai showed me that…I decided that Muay Thai was something that I was going to go after full time. So I’m focused on Muay Thai now as my career.”

Rungravee Sasiprapa (Sasiprapa Gym in Bangkok │ Kingdom of Thailand)
vs. Ognjen Topic (North Jersey Muay Thai in Lodi, New Jersey)
Full Rules Muay Thai │ 132 lbs. │ 5×3.

Consistent with the Matt Lucas characterization of an “angry troll”, Rungravee Sasiprapa comps unworthy challengers the first two rounds to flail till they fail. Who doesn’t jump all over a tax holiday? Ognjen Topic also jumps all over Rungravee for a commanding lead on the score cards │ with the possible exception of one judge, who might be flipping coins or wandering in the wilderness. What Sherpa steward scales the slippery slope of notoriously perishable popular sentiment with a chain fashioned indifferently out of weak links?

When the time comes for Rungravee to recover lost ground in his cat and mouse game, a theme that’s been consistent throughout this entire show takes precedence: “Thou art not alone in proving foresight may be vain. The best laid schemes of mice and men do often go awry and leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy.” [Robert Burns, 1786] Mice don’t have a great track record with cats in a stick and move groove.

Mice don’t have a great track record with cats in a stick and move grooveRungravee’s fearsome reputation – in the “angry troll” impersonation – keys off being able to lure quarry into his strength. The lure’s key, thus, is catching them off guard. Never underestimate the mind game, where technical prowess mints coin of the realm.

Exposure to Bosnia’s Serbian-Croatian killing fields likely informs Ognjen Topic how “protect yourself at all times” plays into surviving lethal cross fire │ or not. It just as likely kindles his resolve to learn from experience. “When I first fought a Thai, Neungsiam,” Ognjen remembers that “I was afraid of losing the fight based on experience and that’s exactly what happened. I gave him way too much respect in that fight. I couldn’t really pull the trigger and do my thing. After that fight I told myself I would never do that again.” Neungsiam’s gain proves to be Rungravee’s pain.

Neungsiam’s gain proves to be Rungravee’s painAbout midway through Round 4, Rungravee seems to concede the inevitability of defeat. Dangling both arms by his sides and turning his back, he begins walking towards his corner. How much should something like this influence judgment on a scale of would you change any plans noticing a funnel cloud outside your window? What happens next tells the story.

For the first time, Rungravee has managed to come up with a move to throw Ognjen Topic off his game. He’s wide open for a sucker punch. Maybe a couple of seconds tick off the clock. Rungravee does another 180°. Call it a momentary lapse. He flashes a grin and sticks out his tongue. Then he continues to take his lumps. Case closed.

Winner: Ognjen Topic by Unanimous Decision

“All’s well that ends well”. The impersonator of an “angry troll” shows that he’s human after all. The Jersey Jedi is at one with the Force. America has a new rock star. It’s time for Scott Kent and Ognjen Topic to begin thinking about Jompitchit Chuwattana and Genji Umeno.

All’s well that ends wellLion Fight XIX
Mashantucket Pequot Foxwoods® Resorts ♦ Casino
Ledyard, Connecticut
Friday, November 21, 2014

PROFESSIONAL MUAY THAI: FULL RULES:

Ognjen Topic (North Jersey Muay Thai in Lodi, New Jersey) def. Rungravee Sasiprapa (Sasiprapa Gym in Bangkok, Kingdom of Thailand) by Unanimous Decision: 50-45, 49-46, and 48-47 │ 132 lbs. │ 5×3.

Chajmaa Bellekhal (Hemmers Gym in Breda, The Netherlands) def. Jeri Sitzes (Budo-Kai Fight Game Gym in Springfield, Missouri) by Split Decision: 49-46, 47-48, and 50-46 │ 124 lbs. │ 5×3.

Rungrat Sasiprapa (Sasiprapa Gym in Bangkok, Kingdom of Thailand) def. Pedro Gonzalez (Redline Fight Sports/North Shore Muay Thai in Boston, Massachusetts) by TKO at 2:42 of Round 4 │ 143 lbs. │ 5×3.

Chris Mauceri (Stockade Martial Arts in Kingston, New York) def. Phanuwat ‘Coke’ Chunhawat (Dek Wat Muay Thai in Oakland, California) by Unanimous Decision: 49-46, 49-46, and 50-45 │ 140 lbs. │ 5×3.

Muay Thai is itself a mix of martial arts

Jo Nattawut (Bangkok Boxing in Atlanta, Georga) def. Sean Kearney (Iron City Muay Thai in Vancouver/British Columbia, Canada) by Unanimous Decision: All three judges scored it 50-45 │ 161 lbs. │ 5×3.

Julio Pena (Hard Knocks Muay Thai in Boston, Massachusetts) def. Matt Doherty (Redline Fight Sports/North Shore Muay Thai in Boston, Massachusetts) by Unanimous Decision: 49-46, 48-47, and 48-47 │ 135 lbs. │ 5×3.

AMATEUR MUAY THAI: MODIFIED RULES:

Benjamin Anton (Rami Elite in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) def. Niko Qirjazo (Redline Fight Sports/North Shore Muay Thai in Boston, Massachusetts) by Unanimous Decision: 30-27, 29-28, and 30-27 │ 143 lbs. │ 3×2.

Emily Back (AMA Fight Club in Whippany, New Jersey) def. Elizabeth Silveria (Hard Knocks Muay Thai in Boston, Massachusetts) by Majority Decision: 29-28, 29-28, and 28-28 │ 118 lbs. │ 3×2.

Brian Bogue (Burke’s Martial Arts in Cranston, Rhode Island) def. Jeovanny Tovar (Redline Fight Sports/North Shore Muay Thai in Boston, Massachusetts) by Unanimous Decision: All three judges scored it 29-28 │ 165 lbs. │ 3×2.

Julian Nguyen (Team Link Muay Thai in Boston, Massachusetts) def. Nick Valentino (Sitmangpong Thai Boxing in Shutesbury, Massachusetts) by TKO at 0:47 of Round 1 │ 147 lbs. │ 3×2.

End Story MarkCLICK HERE for Dan Eric’s Photo Gallery. Bennie E. Palmore II’s entire Lion Fight Photo Gallery is also a CLICK AWAY.

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Challenger 12 ‘Fully Loaded’ MuayThai

Four Time Professional World Champion and Canada’s Legendary Muay Thai Pioneer Ajarn Mike Miles presents:

Challenger 12
International MuayThai Gala
‘Fully Loaded’
Saturday January 24, 2015 │ 7:00 PM

Challenger 12 Poster

HAKEEM DAWODU (Canada)
vs.
CHARLIE PETERS (England)

Hakeem Dawodu has had a difficult time finding Muay Thai bouts. His last MuayThai fight was in Calgary on April the 5th, 2014 with a Unanimous Decision over Thailand’s Sam Samut Dawodu to win a WMC Intercontinental Title. Dawodu has been working on getting a chance to battle in the world’s top promotions, including GLORY and K-1. That news will be coming forth!

On January the 24th, former WMC World Light Middleweight Muay Thai Champion Charlie Peters from England will take the challenge and step up to battle the Calgary athlete. Peters is a young fighter with plenty of experience. He formerly held the WMC World Title, before deciding to move down in weight and going after the Welterweight Championship Belt.

Both of these athletes have their eyes on the results of winning this bout will hold for the winner. Both athletes possess very exciting styles, are highly skilled and in their primes. Speed, power, determination, guts and skill will determine the outcome of this bout. Do not miss it.

MUAYTHAI UNDER CARD
North American Title Fight:
MAX CARRUTHERS vs. ZACHARY LANE (USA)

PLUS:
SCOTT MACKENZIE vs. JEREMY MILBOURN (USA)
BLAKE WEIGEL vs. ANDREW RIVERA (USA)
NOLAN SHERGOLD vs. JASON COLE (USA)

FEMALE FIGHT:
LINDSAY HOLMES vs. CASSIE WARBECK

ALSO:
DYLAN BASTIAN vs. JAMES NELSON
FAWZEL MUBIN vs. PIERRE BAZIN
DYLAN O’TOOLE vs. JAMES RICKS

End Story MarkDEERFOOT INN & CASINO
1000, 11500 – 35 St SE
Calgary, Canada
TICKETS: 403.244.8424

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Yangame’s Fight Night 2 │ ColliƵion

TatNeft World Cup │ Elimination Tournament │ TNA Rules
The Slavic House
Prague, Czech Republic
January 17, 2015

Yangame Fight Night 2 Poster

The TATNEFT Cup World Championship is administered under an especially composed, patented set of rules known as TNA Rules. The rules are strict and only allow for the use of striking techniques derived from martial arts such as Muay Thai, Kyokushin and Kickboxing. The championship features 48 fighters competing in three weight classes: Under 70 kg, Under 80 kg, and 80+ kg. The tournament is split into four stages of the last 16, two stages of the quarterfinals, the semifinals, and the finals. A fighter can either win a bout by knock-out or knock-down, or have it decided by judges following four rounds.

2015-01-17_COLLIZION CZECH REPUBLIC Praga_32015-01-17_COLLIZION CZECH REPUBLIC Praga_4 2015-01-17_COLLIZION CZECH REPUBLIC Praga_5End Story MarkOne fighter from each weight bracket will advance to the TATNEFT Arena in Kazan, Tartarstan to compete for TatNeft World Cup on May the 28th.

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Combat at the Capitale Features Glory World Series Star Wayne Barrett to Kick Off 2015 on February the 6th

130 Bowery in New York City at 8:00pm

Combat at the Capitale on 2-6-15TICKETS AVAILABLE AT:
Ray Longo’s Martial Arts Academy │ (516)294-6313
Lou Neglia’s Martial Arts Karate, Inc. │ (718)372-9089

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