Contender for Credibility Part 3

By fatsoking

Muay Thai has always been known for the indomitable fighters Thailand produces.  Thaiboxers pay their dues in the camps of Bangkok with blood, sweat and tears to prove their mettle in the stadiums and in the rest of the world. By and large Muay Thai in Thailand has a clear ranking and fans know the pecking order of who’s who in Muay Thai.  Even in the west we’re fortunate enough to have our guide via the internet with Rob Cox and his regularly updated ranking of Lumpini and Rajadamnen Stadiums and in Thailand.

But what about in the rest of the world outside of Thailand?  How would one get a reasonably clear idea of the rankings internationally? It can be especially confusing with the countless independent sanctioning bodies with a new one spawning every day.  In fact a suitable analogy a friend told me one day was that Muay Thai sanctioning bodies are like an 8-headed hydra from Greek mythology. When a head is lost another instantly springs to life in its place. Enter the World Muay Thai Council (WMC). In Part One and Part Two of this article series we began examining some of the issues I think the WMC has with credibility.

The WMC seems to never have had a clear picture of rankings, titleholders or even rules.  In this article I will show you how and what I mean by that.

Case in point the Champions of Champions 2 event held in Jamaica.

Before I proceed one should be acquainted with the first Champions of Champions event also held in Jamaica one year before. To call the undertaking disastrous and woefully bad on basically every level would be a mild understatement.  Once again, let me make it very clear that I blame no fighter for taking a fight and earning a payday.  No fighter or their team could possibly have expected what was to come.

With Dennis Warner as promoter in tow a dream card of fighters was assembled in what was expected to be an event like no other for international Muay Thai. They had a dream location, a very experienced promoter and a card worthy of kings to be witnessed. There was only one problem.

The web Pay per View (PPV) the event organizers decided to host on their own web site failed miserably.  May be it was that the volume of viewers was far more than what they anticipated, may be someone was incompetent at the helm, or may be an act of God caused it.  In any scenario it failed and it failed badly mid-stream and in abhorrently low quality.  Angry PPV purchasers emailed RISARC, the organizers and web hosts for the event justifiably demanding a refund on an incomplete or sub-par view.  No emails were responded to and no one got a refund.

Dennis Warner, Muay Thai promoter

Dennis Warner, Muay Thai promoter

Wisely Dennis Warner parted ways never to work with RISARC again.

Now in 2009 RISARC was back and Champions of Champions 2 was to proceed again in Jamaica.  This time though they needed a promoter and a new sanction.  In the year prior Dennis Warner had coordinated between various sanctions including the IKF and WBC. In the Champions of Champions 2 show it’d be none other than the WMC at the helm to sanction all bouts with Clifton Brown promoting.  To put it bluntly, bad things followed.

The first bad thing:  the PPV product.  In Australia and select markets there would be a normal televised PPV to purchase.  For the rest of the world you had a web PPV via gofightlive.tv.  Through no fault of gofightlive.tv and the broadcasters of the PPV it failed horribly once again.  The issue was not that they couldn’t broadcast but that often there was nothing to broadcast.  Intermittently in Jamaica the feed died altogether or had audio or video issues throughout.  The other issues were the decision to wedge in a fashion show in the fights and the long delays between bouts.  As a result Champions of Champions ran over time.  RISARC had only purchased 3 hours of PPV time.  So when the 3 hours ended some broadcast customers’ show ended too.

Still none of this was WMC’s fault but should they have known better from the first Champions of Champions?  In my opinion absolutely, undeniably yes.

So where is the WMC’s role in this?  The second bad thing.  Nathan ‘Carnage’ Corbett is right now a very popular Thaiboxer from Australia.  Nathan is noted for his devastating elbows and tactically sharp Muay Thai that has earned victory after victory with most of them ending in a highlight reel collection of stoppages and Kos. There is no question about it ‘Carnage’ is the goods.  So who could challenge Corbett for cruiserweight dominance in Muay Thai?  Tyrone Spong a notable Dutch standout who also produced highlight reel Kos but had only fought Fully Muay Thai rules against his much smaller Thai opponent, Yod Chai Wor Petchpun.  Needless to say Spong easily stopped his smaller Thai opponent. But here was the catch Spong wanted modified Muay Thai rules only.  The WMC granted it and additionally made a title at stake for it. The title to be contested was the ever popular Muay Thai Against Drugs title. So here was the dream match under watered down rules for a title that really has no signifignace or rank importance being fought for under rules the WMC should logically have nothing to do with.

Nathan 'Carnage' Corbett

Tyrone Spong

I am reminded of the tagline the WMC uses ‘One World, One Muay Thai’.  The reality of the WMC’s actions in this should read ‘One World, One Muay Thai unless a big enough name wants it otherwise’.  As with the Contender Asia example the WMC acts first to make the fight and second to regulate.  Why does the WMC now act as a promoter to make sure by any means a card can go on? Their negligence in this event was only beginning.

Here is the summary of the fight:

  • Spong knocks down Carnage with a flying knee.  The referee rules it a slip
  • Carnage knocks out Spong with a right hook.  The referee assesses a very long count and Spong on shaky legs rises from the floor.
  • The referee is looking over Spong to see if he is able to continue.  Spong insists that he can.
  • Carnage mistakenly or in anger attacks Spong.

Predictably a melee nearly begins with both fighters’ corner rushing into the middle of the ring.  It becomes so chaotic that one of the 2 biased fight commentators rises out of his chair and challenges Spong’s coach, former world champion Lucien Carbin to a fight at his gym.

During all this where is Fox to resolve all of this?  Why he is table side with Michael Schiavello and Mark ‘The Hamma’ Castigni.  Fox took no action, offered no help, and did nothing to resolve the situation.  What Fox did do instead is announce that Duane Ludwig would be on the Contender and then mention that Thais are and I quote: ‘Flat-nosed small people’.  These are hardly the actions of a Vice-President of the WMC seeking to preserve the integrity and honesty of his sport.  It was the actions of man trying to shill his latest sponsored game show where he will star as the ‘mentor’.

Make no mistake independent sanctions are important.  Having a true meaningful international ranking system for Muay Thai is important. Having a regulatory body making sure everyone plays safe and plays fair is also important. International Muay Thai cannot move forward without independent sanctioning.

But the actions of the WMC have led me to believe they are not fit for this course.  They cannot do what must be done and have no interest in doing things correctly either.  They have treated their own world titles as vanity belts with no rhyme or reason behind them.  Title shots are granted at a whim whether it’s under full Muay Thai rules or aren’t. They cannot put their authority in place when they are easily vetoed by television producers.  The WMC doesn’t respect the Thai culture or even the Thais.

For international Muay Thai the sanction leadership must be counted on to take action when it matters, when tough decisions need to be made and when reliable honesty and integrity is needed.  The WMC has shown me that leadership is not them.

For a blue print on how to do it more correctly look at the WBC Muay Thai rankings.  There is a clear delineation of who’s who and at what weight class.  They have fight history and a lineage of when the titles changed hands.  They make meaningful fights happen and they have yet to bow down to what any individual fighter wants to do to modify their rules.  The WBC has yet to bend knee to a television producer’s demands.

Can the WMC change and become a meaningful sanction with integrity?  Anything is possible but the strongest and most audible force in International Muay Thai is its fans.  What do Muay Thai fans want?  I hope its meaningful fights and a sanction worthy of being supported by them.  Thanks for reading this opinion piece and as always leave comments either pro or con.

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~ by fatsoking on July 21, 2009.

6 Responses to “Contender for Credibility Part 3”

  1. Thais are and I quote: ‘Flat-nosed small people’
    Mr Fox the Thai’s are too proud to retort.

    A fox on the other hand has no place to live. Its home has gone, it now eat’s out of dustbins, and hides cowardly behind the back streets of dirty takeaways.

    The fox now longer takes care of it’s self, it smells, it has no real friends. You can see the fox in the morning, beware try feed them and they will smile and take you, beware the fox, its nature is inherent, be on your guard, the fox will bite you!

    A Thai, a small strong person form Asia, Thailand. Beware they will help you, feed you, make friends with you, have fun with you, the Thai will show you the truth, beware they will ‘fight’ you, with love and honor and pride.

    Thanks 8 limbs for the information. Now I know what happened!

    No fighter should ever be at fault or blamed. They all do there best so show us all how its done. Promoters should remember a ‘fighter’ is a real person, not a free meal!

  2. Great Read!

  3. Fox you’re an asshole!

  4. The WBC is BS titels. Most titles are bought by local promoters/ national WBC sanctioning promotoer – onlyy to be fed to their own fighters. In Denmark all of the WBC world titles and intercontinental titels are won with only one fight – most often with homejudges help.

    So before glorifying WBC, one should take a much deeper look into whats behind them.

    Its a shame for the sport we all love.

  5. down with the fox….great read thank you!!

    as long as there are people, who see through the shit there’s always hope!!!

  6. […] called WMC Full Rules Muay Thai.  It took me  a while to even process who was on the card with WMC and the promoter name  being so prominently displayed on the poster above and beyond even the […]

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