Muay Thai moves closer to unified rules in the USA

By Fatso King

It looks like there is some pretty significant news for the United States Muay Thai community.  Finally a movement within the Association of Boxing Commissions is moving forward to adopt nationwide universal rules of Muay Thai.   From the USMTA site:

New Guidelines for Muay Thai   were presented to the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions) at the General meeting held on July 30th, 2009, in New Orleans , LA. These guidelines were submitted by Nick Lembo, NJSAC and on behalf of ABC President Tim Lueckenhoff of the Missouri Athletic commission..

When asked how the commission received the information presented on the sport, it was stated that, “It was well received as guidelines”, said NickLembo of the NJSAC . “We meaning the ABC, set up a committee to review  these guidelines and offer ‘Unified Rules’ for adoption next year after more interaction with the Muay Thai community”, said Nick Lembo.

President of the ABC

For those of you reading this out of the United States this is a pretty impressive move forward.  Most people in the USA haven’t actually seen authentic Muay Thai and when those that do recognize the word automatically associate it with MMA. This would go a long way towards Muay Thai in America being recognized as a wholly separate entity and making sure the game is played with consistency any where in the USA. If within 12 months, standards are agreed upon then the real work progresses in what I’d assume is the adoption of the new standards for Muay Thai.  Thanks go to Stephen Strotmeyer for sharing the news.  Stephen also was instrumental in drafting  up the proposed rules.

~ by fatsoking on August 20, 2009.

8 Responses to “Muay Thai moves closer to unified rules in the USA”

  1. I’m not so happy about it. I think the proposal should have been:

    1) Two classes: pro and amateur
    2) Pros fight according to WBC/WMC rules
    3) Amateurs fight according to the IFMA rules

    This is SIMPLE and very much like in boxing where people can distinguish between a pro and an amateur.

    The proposal put forward in the US is the Dutch model and they hardly have ANYBODY dominating Muaythai! There is one (SLAMM!! Promotion) Muaythai promotion in Holland – the rest are K-1/K-1 Max rules promoters without clinching, elbows, throws, ploughing etc. etc. etc.

    Yes I’m aware that Holland is the most dominant kickboxing nation but a little research and insight will actually show that they are NOT a strong Muaythai nation.

    Finland, Sweden, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan etc. are STRONG Muaythai nation – they have adopted the model of IFMA rules for amateurs and WMC rules for pros!

  2. Hey Larsenator thanks for commenting and let me address this for you:

    1. There is and always has been a clear delineation of amateur and pro in the USA. I don’t quite see where the need to clarify that as a license lookup is public knowledge and will tell you easily and immediately what the status of a fighter is.

    2. Pro fights according to either the WBC or WMC’s rules would happen under the WBC or WMC’s sanctions. The WBC is actually a member body of the ABC. The WMC to my knowledge is not. I really wouldn’t lend much creedence to the WMC’s rules anyways since it’s proven those can be changed on a whim as the Champions of Champions 2 event shows where a title was fought for under modified rules (no elbows)

    3. The IFMA has pretty much no hold in the USA. And in most cases amateurs aren’t even sanctioned at all in the USA with some notable exceptions like the IKF. The safety concerns and regulations by default would fall to a state’s commission.
    The Dutch model I believe follows an A-class, B-class and C-class sort of model. The USA doesn’t have that. They have a license carrying professional or a non-paid amateur. Beyond that in America there really is no separate distinction.

    I’m curious where you find the need to delineate pro from amateur in the USA is from as I said before it’s a reasonably easy and quick distinction to lookup and an actual matter of public record as any pro fighter must be licensed in their state. This would include a status of suspended or revoked.

    The unified rules are being proposed here because often times in America there is a lot of titles with ‘Muay Thai’ in it conducted under rules varying from K-1 to full rules. The WMC has shown a willingness to ignore their much advertised standards if it means they can make a fight happen under their auspices and they can collect a sanction fee. This proposal if widely adopted in the USA will prevent that from any member bodies of the ABC.

  3. All I’m saying is that the formula which has proved to produce successful Muaythai nations (and not kickboxing nations) is a formula where there is two classes: Pro and amateur – fighting under rules similar to EITHER WBC or WMC for the pro’s and then IFMA rules for the amateurs.
    Holland is basically non existent when it comes to Muaythai so I think it’s wrong to follow their way.

    In Denmark we’ve been plagued by that formula for years. We have hardly any descent elbow fighters because people fight the stupid N, C, B, A-class system (where no elbows are used not even in the A-class rules fights – just like in Holland).

    You of all people should know that I do not support the WMC hence the mentioning of their rules was for explanation purposes (Even though their rules are great).

  4. The proposed rules I saw does in fact include elbows. I didn’t include the rules here because it’s pretty long(about 18 pages). But it does include elbows for both pros and amateurs. Europeans definition of Class A, B, and so forth has more to do with one’s standings as a competitor not so much the rules they occur under. For example in France there is A to C class standings but they fight with full rules albeit with elbows in pads. I’ll see if there is enough interest and I may put up the full 18-page document on the proposed rules.

  5. Well as you know I know Stephen personally and I know about the proposal (before you posted about it) and I just think it is yet AGAIN a wrong move within the Muaythai community to actually copy the model of a country which is basically non-existent when it comes to the art of eight limbs.

    The A, B, C, N system has PLAGUED several European countries for years as they adopted, just like the US is trying to now, the system due to Holland’s strong presence in so called modified Thaiboxing.

    The system allows for even more confusion as the rules in each class are different.

    Why fix what is not broken: One rule set for the pros and one rules set for the amateurs?!! Just like in boxing and MMA.

    • Hmm, you’re gonna have to clarify that for me as I see nothing remotely close to the A – C class being offered here only a proposed ruleset for universal adoption. I don’t understand what you’re against so help me out. It has nothing to do with further confusing the roles of pros versus amateurs and it has nothing to do with A – C class. And it has even less to do with modeling it on anything anyone else is doing. It’s basically a first in USA history. It’s only a very early proposal of what the rules should be. In my prior comment I cleared both of those ideas you seem to be be unclear on.

      The rules in America are in fact very broken and need much fixing hence the rules proposal. And amateur boxing is nothing like pro boxing having done amateur boxing myself I can tell you they are nothing alike from the judging, the actual fighting and the scoring.

  6. Strotmeyer told me that the proposed rule set is based on the Dutch A, B, C and N class system. So this is what I am referring to.

    Maybe it has changed before being put forward?

  7. Unified Muay Thai rules passes unanmiously ABC Annual Conference, Day 3 (Aug 3, 2011). (

    Main points are :
    Time limit on ram Muay:
    Necessity of a ring (not a cage):
    Use of an amulet on the upper arm;
    Allowance of clinching;
    Use of Namman Muay, Thai linament (but no other products);
    Low blow technicialities;
    Definition of clean striking with the knees and elbows,[
    Definiton of damage
    -Did the blow cause a retreat?
    -Did it unbalance?
    -Did it stop his attack?
    -Did he show show pain?
    -Was there visible damage like a cut?
    Finish of fight – who looks fresha at end.

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