Contender for Credibility Part 2

By Fatsoking

Muay Thai is about the fight and has always been about the fight and always will be about the fight. Muay Thai gained a lot of its attention by taking on fighters from other styles and beating them. In the ring Muay Thai declared its dominance for all to hear. But there has always been a second battle Muay Thai has had to fight in the 21st century, the fight for significance and for integrity.  Muay Thai’s fight for credible international sanction continues outside the ring.

In Part 1 of the article series Contender for Credibility we examined how the World Muay Thai Council has failed to deliver on the promise of maintaining integrity through it’s involvement in the reality TV show Contender Asia. Though the series was modestly received in the United States it was enough of a hit elsewhere that plans were quickly made to continue with a second season.

The 2nd season was to allegedly have their participants not hand selected by Stephen Fox but instead fight in qualifying tournaments throughout the world (many of Contender Asia season one participants were picked from the WMC’s own training camp in Koh Samui, Thailand). Further on in this article you will discover why I said “allegedly”. This new method of entry into the Contender Asia series held much promise. It seemed no longer would show contestants be handpicked based on preference.  Instead the merits of their fights would get them on. Now it seemed mismatches would no longer occur. Another effect this had is the WMC was able to keep a busy schedule of sanctioning fight events throughout the world. Suddenly the WMC’s profile globally grew tremendously.

The WMC staged qualifiers in Hong Kong, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Malaysia, Spain, Australia, Russia, Switzerland, and South Africa. Promoters internationally were kept busy and they could use the added feature that the winner of their qualifiers would get a chance to showcase their skills on a broadcasted television show that would reach a much bigger audience. This audience would be far bigger than any individually promoted fight events could ever reach. Of the countries participating once again Holland notably was off the list.  Holland was to be a part of the Contender Asia qualifications. But it seemed the Dutch fighters couldn’t participate for the most part because they were signed to contracts keeping them busy fighting meaningful fights already. As most of you probably may know that included Slamm!! Slamm!! Events have made their name deservedly from pitting some of Holland’s best Muay Thai fighters against some of Thailand’s best fighters. In my opinion Slamm!! pretty much nullified the need to be on a reality TV show to have a high profile meaningful fight.

Mike Miles, WMC Arm for Canada

Mike Miles, WMC Arm for Canada

During these qualifiers things once again go awry. The Canadian Contender qualifiers begin under Mike Miles watch as WMC Canadian arm and trainer of many of the fighters that appear in the tournament. Once can easily see Miles’ association with the WMC and as coach may bring a conflict of interest. But let me invoke the tagline one hears in Ginsu knife ads – Wait there’s more! The Calgary Amateur Kickboxing and Muay Thai Association (CAKMA) would be promoting the event with Mike Miles the creator of CAKMA. The bouts would be sanctioned by the WMC shared with the Calgary Combative Sports Commission (CSCC). The Calgary Sports Commission is led by Candy Schacter a friend of Mike Miles as chairman. Now we have a true mess of conflict of interest. It would seems Mike Miles has his fingers in many different organizational pots all of which are at cross purposes least of which is why a self-titled amateur association is promoting a professional card.

Still the qualifier happened with some questionable results the qualifier reached a final and Alex Ricci of Toronto would fight Mike Miles’ student and son Jesse Miles. Ricci knocked Jesse Miles out right at the end of the last round. Mike Miles protested the call because of an error with the timekeeper which made the round longer than it should have been. Because of it, Mike Miles had the knockout reviewed supposedly with the video evidence. Since then the decision was reversed and Jesse Miles was declared the winner despite Ricci in essence doing nothing wrong. Canada’s representative for the Contender Asia was Jesse Miles as a direct result of getting knocked out by Alex Ricci. No action was taken against the Canadian WMC arm for their error with the time keeping or with any of the other errors made by officials. Instead it would seem Alex Ricci would suffer the consequences of someone else’s incompetence. This would seem to leave it in Calgary’s hands to resolve with CCSC.

Candy Schacter, chairman of the CCSC

Candy Schacter, chairman of the CCSC

As an employee of the city of Calgary Candy sure is busy promoting Mike Miles’ events Site (retrieved as of 7-19-09):
http://www.tooks.net/blog . The thin veneer of impartial and unbiased judgment is just that a veneer of what a casual look at CAKMA, the WMC and Mike Miles will completely erode. I have never witnessed any regulatory sanction so involved in marketing of events. Why was a qualifier for the event held at 165lbs/75kgs when the show itself was to be held at 160lbs/72.5kgs? These are 2 more clear instances of at minimum a conflict of interest and at maximum a collusion of efforts to undermine the Contender Asia’s credibility. Alex Ricci would press on with his career by fighting in other opportunities.

The remainder of the international qualifiers went reportedly smoothly and without a hitch. The tournaments were closing and show contestants were being decided. There were however two more countries in addition to Holland that were remarkable by their omission: The USA and Thailand. The USA had yet to have a qualifying event and Thailand had the King’s Cup. It looked like Khem would be representing Thailand. At last a contestant who would arrive on the show on the basis of his fights. But Madsua and Singhsiri would be departing for casting as of June. Both never fought a qualifier but were managed by Stephen Fox, head of the WMC. This shows another clear conflict of interest with the WMC vice-president actually managing fighters.

Madsua with manager Stephen Fox

Madsua with manager Stephen Fox

Now here comes the twist to all the qualifiers for the contender staged internationally: it didn’t matter. Khem was passed on as was Madsua and Singhsiri. The reason why was marketability concerns and none of the Thai contingent could speak English. Stephen Fox in a hastily composed defense letter goes to admit that while the WMC’s stated goal is to defend and uphold international Muay Thai’s integrity and credibility they could do nothing to correct what was in essence a producer’s choice. Fox also goes on to blame airport lockdown for the reversal of the King’s Cup as a qualifier for the Contender Asia show.

As for the Canadian qualifier?  No one is going.  No information regarding the decision to not send a Canadian candidate has never been released but one can probably easily and accurately guess at the WMC and Mark Burnett’s reasons for the exclusion.

Let us move on to the United States candidates for the show. As I stated earlier there was no qualifying bouts for the United States. Instead selected for the show were Colorado’s Duane Ludwig who has  literally not fought even a modified Muay Thai rules match since 2003 after defeating Malaipet Sitrapom for the ISKA light middle weight title. The second show contestant would be Kit Cope noted for his MTV appearance in “I’m a Real Life Muay Thai Fighter”. Kit Cope has since gone on to a 0-4 record in MMA and also has not participated in Muay Thai in literally years.

A report from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) states that Kit Cope – competing in World Extreme Cagefighting main event against “Razor” Rob McCullough – has tested positive for the illegal substance Boldenone, which is an anabolic steroid.

Kit Cope NSAC drug tested and failed

Kit Cope NSAC drug tested and failed

A comment from NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer stated, “Although we have had only one MMA show this year (last Saturday’s WEC), we already have a positive drug test for 2007 as Kit Cope tested positive for Boldenone.” An anabolic steroid that is intended for use only by veterinarians, Boldenone is used specifically to help rehabilitate injured horses. It has several brand names for veterinary use, including Equigan, Equipoise, Ultragan, and Ganabol. It is on the banned substances list of all the major athletic commissions and sports leagues. Apparently none of this is an issue with the WMC.

As it is here are the current verified qualifiers:

Paulo Balicho ( Switzerland ),Bernard Radin (Malaysia), Rafi Zouhier ( Spain ), Wing Heung Pak ( Hong Kong ), Jordan Watson( U.K. ), Eli Madigan ( Australia ), Bakhulule Baai ( Africa ), Marcus Oberg ( Sweden ), Levin Artem ( Russia ), Marco Piqué ( Netherlands / Suriname ), Saro Presti ( Italy ), Cedric Muller ( France ), Faizal Ramli ( Malaysia ), Malaipet Sasiprapa ( Thailand )

The Final 2 contestants representing the USA:

Kit Cope (USA) and Duane Ludwig (USA).

Contender 2 qualifiers

Contender 2 qualifiers

Yes, for Thailand Malaipet was selected. Malaipet who has not been a resident in Thailand for literally years. How does he qualify to be a member of the cast of Contender since he has not participated in any of the Contender Asia Thailand qualifiers? Nor lived in Thailand in over a decade?

Malaipet

Malaipet

Here are some more questions to ask yourself until part 3 of this series of articles:

Why does the WMC admittedly bow down to the requests of a television producers at the cost of Muay Thai’s integrity?

Why is the English speaking requirement now preventing fighters from appearing? After all they subtitled much of the non-English speakers’ dialogue last season. Why not do it again?

Why is there so many fighters represented by Stephen Fox’s management?

Why is Mike Miles a part of the movement of ‘One World, One Muay Thai’ when it seems Miles is more concerned with one promotion, one manager, and one coach?

Why is Kit Cope who has failed NSAC drug tests going to the Conetender?

Until the next in these series of articles consider these questions very carefully. Leave comments pro or con and thanks for reading.

To read Part 3 click here.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Quick update this is the new officially acknowledged roster via Contender Asia’s site.

Confirmed Contenders

Confirmed Contenders

Confirmed Contenders, with 2 undecided

Confirmed Contenders, with 2 undecided

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~ by fatsoking on July 19, 2009.

25 Responses to “Contender for Credibility Part 2”

  1. Interesting stuff. Piles of inaccuracies and unsupported accusations, but a good read none the less. Keep on hunting for witches!

  2. 1st welcome to thescienceof8limbs.com

    2nd provide adequate counter proof that can be verified and I’ll happily make the corrections.

    Last this is no witch hunt, this is an opinion piece and my sources verify what’s written from Bangkok to Calgary. Since you’ve provided no proof but just what amounts to a reactionary shout I guess I should say happy excuse making.

  3. let me quote part of what stephan fox posted in k1-fans forum

    “Regarding Khem Fairtex, let me explain further. Originally, the King’s Cup should have been a qualifier, but sadly, the airport in Thailand was shut down due to political unrest at that time, and our international fighters from Belarus, Russia, France, etc. could not make it, so we had to use fighters from Thai gyms only. This is why the decision was made to no longer use the event as an official direct qualifier.”

    lame excuse, please remind stephan have he forgotten there is a contender asia contestant who secured his place by winning in a dodgy matchup at the kings cup and not through the malaysian qualifier?

  4. Completely agreed. That is a weak excuse. TV producers call the shots over the WMC. May as well name it Contender America instead of Asia.

  5. Out of respect for Thailand the Thai competitors should not have been allowed to fight each other until into the finals in the first season, it looked like a fix, by a fox, to remove one of the Thai’s early on.

    Those two friends from Thailand should not have been put together like that, if it was to ‘show case’ Thailand and Muay Thai.

    Stephen Fox’s WMC Thai camp is a small tourist camp with a large WMC painting on the back wall, on a small Thai Island. If you don’t believe me, try a full moon party on the same Thai Island, or watch the contender again. Has this camp produced a great Thai champion?

    The Thai fighters in Thailand only compete for the WMC belt to go on there wall. It means nothing to Ratchadamnern or Lumpinee A class fighters. The WMC has nothing to do with Thailand or Thai officials within Muay Thai.

    The WMC is now doing the same at local levels with rankings earlier in the fighter’s career. IE if do not join ‘XYZ’ Association affiliated to WMC, then in the future you will not be on the WMC list to fight anyone ranked, even at the bottom.

    This to me, and I have been doing this for 35 years means nothing to do with talented fighters or promoting Thailand’s sport.

    Fact. Stephen Fox is not from Thailand or a Thai.

    Whatever they are doing with the idea of the IOC and branding offical sports organisations in the deal, Muay Thai will not be consider into the Olympics until 2050. Check the official IOC (only) data.

    Anything to promote Muay Thai is good for the sport provided it is fair and related directly to Thailand.

    Why is it not filmed or produced in Thailand, entily, and by Thai people?

    Analogue:
    I shall try to E mail a ‘Fox’ to see if we can set up the American Football Contender show. I think the first season should be filmed in Norway. I am sure this will go down well in the USA. It may help them get out of the rut. So many people have been stealing from them over the years the Superbowl needs our help.

    Chokdee

  6. I can give you one guess why it was not filmed in Thailand but don’t really want to go there. You all can probably guess the single reason behind not filming in Thailand, and if I not will give you a hint, it rhymes with honey! There is a very strategic reason why it was filmed in Singapore and I must say that I do not agree with everything going on but I would have done the same thing if I was in their shoes.

  7. It’s all about the ‘honey!’ Honey makes the world go round.

    Thanks norcalmt.

    I never thougth to put out some ‘honey’ to catch my fox.

    Would you not save more ‘honey’ if you filmed in Thailand? Or am I missing the plot? I am glad they have a contender show for Muay Thai, but it isn’t what it says on the pot.

    If its honey, then give me honey, if its jam, then tell us the truth. Lets face it there is no ‘honey’ in Muay Thai. MMA, UFC has spread it all over there hexagonal biscuit, while the disfunctinal child of Western Muay Thai were out hunting foxes.

  8. Kit Cope already fulfilled his suspension and has competed in an MMA match since his suspension. He should be considered a welcome competitor since he gained notoriety and fame from his appearance on MTV True Life: I’m a Muay Thai Fighter. Quite, frankly many people including myself are tired of him boasting about his Muay Thai skills. Especially since his only notable win was against a sick Alex Gong. This show gives Cope a chance to prove he is able to compete in a true sanctioned event rather than a Master Toddy sideshow!

    • Kit Cope in my opinion if he’s tested again has a high likelihood of pissing hot again. This show deos provide him a chance to do …something again. Why he or Ludwig is there is strange to me since neither has particiapted in Muay Thai for literally years.

  9. Regarding Candy Schacter, Chairman of the Calgary Combative Sports Commission. Fatsoking, should do some research before he publishes something. Candy trained at a school that was in competition with and competed against Mike Miles school. As a matter of fact, I remember that way back when(this was years ago) Candy and Mike really did not like each other and did not get along. So, Fatsoking, don’t just say things because you think they might sound good, do the research!!!!!

    • Candy never trained with Mike Miles? Really? Mind telling me what this school was that actually was competitive with Mike Miles? Provide proof and I’ll happily change that. Unfortunately for you, you cannot deny that they are good friends and cronies. My case for obvious conflict of interest still exist. I’d like to see one logical and moral reason a city employee has in actively marketing Mike Miles events as much as Candy does. I’m 100% willing to concede the point on the schools if you provide me proof that they in fact were conflicting and ‘did not get along’. Because I provided solid proof she markets Miles’ events and over ruled a called KO Alex Ricci earned in favor of the KOed Jesse Miles.

    • Also Ray given that Candy is really not the central focus of the article I have given you the benefit of the doubt and changed it. However I noted the rest and honestly more disturbing pieces of information go uncommented by you. How do you feel about Miles being the WMC representative for an organization that has no rankings, direction or anything really at the moment representing integrity? Since you are obviously close to Miles and can comment on what they do please feel free to do so now. Nothing short of the openly offensive and stupid gets censored here.

      Thanks for coming by and commenting.

  10. With respect to your first comment, Candy trained at the Institute of Karate in Calgary, under Sensei Frank Koch. When we competed in tournaments, generally Mike and his people were competing as well. To my understanding, Commission members, including Candy, who is the current chair, are appointed volunteers and are not city employees. I am not sure what website you say she is advertising exclusively Mike Miles shows, I have only seen her blog, wherein, she basically advertises all combative sports events scheduled to take place in Calgary.

    Now my favorite one, the Ricci Miles match. I looked into this one because I did not understand it and it turns out that the rules they were following stated that a fighter can be saved by the bell in the final round. Ricci did indeed ring Miles bell, but the ref was counting Miles out when the bell rang effectively ending the match, so he was saved by the bell, according to the rules and regulations. Miles dominated all rounds, but the last and when the scorecards were tallied, Miles was the winner, so the commission as a whole overturned the match because of an improper decision based on the rules and regulations that they were following. I personally think that the ref should have waved him out immediately, instead of counting and then the decision would have been clear.

    • The delineation between volunteer and paid employee is really quibbling. Schacter works for Calagary in either case its voluntarily. No one works under coercion. Schacter has in fact gone as far as to display the city of Calgary’s emblem very largely and conspicuously on her blog site. On her blog site she does promote other event but most proportionately Miles and at much great length and detail full of sloppy praise and thanks of Miles and his team. That said why is Candy advertising events at all? When has it become appropriate for City employees to work and promote for paid sporting events? I don’t remember Larry Hazzard shilling for a boxing match. I cannot remember Keith Kizer running full print ads for the UFC.

      The Miles match was an error of the time keepers. Nonetheless my point stands. It was an official error not Ricci’s and Ricci was punished for it. For that matter I have the rest of the rounds too and while it was close I would have called it for Ricci. The WMC was negligent in taking the proper action, having competent official staff and in fact the fight was rules after the fight as a ‘TKO win’ in favor Alex.

      Here’s more negligence:
      1. Jesse’s elbows were exposed through out the second and third round with multiple people screaming to have them covered after Jesse tried using them with backward spinning elbow strikes which Ricci thankfully blocked.
      2. Jesse was well oiled down. Too much so. No call was made by any official.
      3. Jesse shouldn’t have even been counted at all. He was in absolutely no danger of getting up at all. Watch the video and make a case for him getting up soon. For safety reason alone the fight should have been waved off.

  11. I actually don’t know Mike Miles very well. I knew him back when competing, well enough to say hi, but that was it. That is why I can’t comment regarding his involvement. I do know Candy and have since our training years and felt that she was being unfairly treated here and hence, just wanted to straighten things out.

    • I can understand your desire to defend Miles and Schacter as a Calgary person and a member of the National kickboxing network I’m guessing. But Candy’s spam work and your defense as volunteer or not is really not even a worthy point to bring up. She’s a city employee and has no business marketing Miles events or anyone else’s. As far as straightening ‘it’ out it has been.

      But as I said before it doesn’t at all make Miles anything better for protesting the call at all since despite all the official incompetence on display the first call was correct.

      Thanks for bringing it to my notice.

  12. It’s pathetic that the WMC hardly EVER reacts on incidents like this one. How is that for integrity?!

    And integrity is what we need. I fully support the WMC as they are the biggest, most international governing body BUT I also FULLY support improving and criticising where there is room for debate, improvements, changes etc.

    At the end of the day the thing which is most disturbing is the way the WMC handled this episode or should I say didn’t act professionally or act at all along with all the mistakes at Champions of Champions 2 where they once again act PASSIVELY.

    I don’t care about whether the WMC is “Under the directive of the royal Thai government” – that shit doesn’t mean a thing to us westerners and I also think that all the “let’s keep it unchanged” with regards to mongkongs, arm prajeds, ram muay, paying tribute to ancestors etc. etc. etc. is what is keeping this sport from breaking through.

    I have always been an advocate for keeping it real etc. but must admit now that I have changed my mind on all of these areas as they will simply make most westerners want to look at something else (on tele) if they are to listen to the Thai music, watch fighters dance prior to the fights etc. The sport needs to develop in order to attract big sponsors, tv deals etc. but as it is right now it will not happen.

  13. I agree, it will not happen.

    If the ‘biggest and most international governing body’ can’t do it. Why are they pretending to do it? And the ‘W’ must be dropped to MC.

    To add constructively, haven’t the K-1 not done what you have asked (in away) and as we can read here, the Thai’s may not be welcome anymore due to one mans dominance in K-1 and he happens to be Thai.

    It does seem to me that the world wants a Western Muay Thai separate to Thailand.

    World means world, not hand picked…..

    Many attitudes would change if it was re-named the ‘Western Muaythai Council’

    I would get the same response if I went to Norway to start my own ‘Bull Fighting’, my own ranks, ‘Blue capes’ and change it to a ‘square’ rink and use ‘milk cows’. You don’t have to be Spanish to see it would be stink! What’s worse the poor cows, there milk would go sour. That’s what we then have to feed on.

    That’s my view anyway.

    Debate rhymes with ‘mass debate’ and that is the wrong action for this sport. The shop window needs to be clear and transparent first, that’s what action should be taken.

    Thankfully there is a very clear window on this site, its a great read.

  14. “lame excuse, please remind stephan have he forgotten there is a contender asia contestant who secured his place by winning in a dodgy matchup at the kings cup and not through the malaysian qualifier?”

    The contestant is Bernard Radin from Malaysia. Malaysians were told he qualified after winning the King’s Cup. Bernard actually started learning Muay Thai from videos about 1 1/2 year ago. He claims to have 45 fights, 40 wins, 5 losses with 32 wins by KO.

    Actual fact is, he fought Muay Thai only once in Malaysia and he lost. He was then sent to WMC Lamai and i just cant believe it..he lost his Muay Thai fight in Malaysia and he beat the germans and the thais in Thailand. Altogether, 5 fights in Muay Thai.

    Somehow rather, he got selected to Contender Asia after winning the fight during King’s Cup and of course because of his “GOOD RELATIONSHIP” with the FOX.

    Bernard is the only one (beside the thais) who qualified into Contender Season 2 without having to go go through the 8 men qualifier… So, if u want to be in season 3, make sure u have a “GOOD RELATIONSHIP” with the FOX

  15. Isn’t Radin a bit older too? I think he is 36 years old or so.

  16. Damn. This gets more and more interesting. In the sad way though. Thanks everybody for posting your thoughts and insights. 🙂

  17. Found this about Radin his is now ‘only’ 37, bless his cotton socks, hes a young one.

    Name: Bernard Radin

    Fighting name: The Head Hunter
    (The name taken from Bernard’s Iban heritage. Born into an Iban long house in Sarawak, his ancestors were once famous for warriors beheading their enemies and hanging their heads in the long house as trophy’s reflecting courage and bravery).

    Date of birth: 5th April 1972

    Place of birth: Sarawak

    Country: Malaysia

    Style: Muay Thai

    Height: 5’7″

    Weight: 70kg

    From
    ___________________________

    http://bernardradin.blogspot.com/2008/05/fighter-profile.html

    Its is a shame ‘Larsenator’, the truth can be a bit sad. But wow, how insightful is it?

    Keep on ,keeping on chaps.

  18. Yes indeed. Together we will all reveal the wrongs and eventually the pressure will be too great and one day it will all be changed for the better. This is what I hope and naively believe in. 🙂

    • Me and some friends are making a pool specifically for this. Each of us donated $20 to the cause and all set dates when the WMC will mysteriously begin having ‘rankings’. The winner of course gets all the donated money. When they are published I am wondering how much or how little it will look like anyone else’s rankings.

  19. You all might also be interested in knowing that Candy Schacter has finally stopped using the official Calgary Seal on her blog. Now if only she could learn to stop trying to be a promoter and do her job correctly.

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