IFMA Becomes Sole Authority of Amateur Muay Thai

By Mike LNg

Before I begin this article be warned:  There is commentary ahead following the news brief. If you care only about the news portion of this article stop reading once you reach the bold print.

IFMA logo

The International Federation of Muay Thai (IFMA) After much legal wrangling has been ruled the sole authority to host and select athletes in domestic and international Muay Thai amateur events. The ruling comes down from the Thai Supreme Administrative Court, May 27th, 2010. Despite much public overtures of rhetorical support from IFMA, IFMA and rival Amateur Muay Thai Association of Thailand (MAT) fought a years long battle in court to win the sole authority power of Amateur Muay Thai in Thailand. Recently, IFMA went so far as to post a press release making it sound very much like MAT happily passed over the reins without a court battle and even went as far as publishing the AMTAT logo prominently on their site with an accompanying press release describing how the IFMA now grants the AMTAT organization permission to do what they’ve always done: sanction Amateur Muay Thai events internationally.

The IFMA president Sakchaye Tapsuwan was quoted as saying the decision was a relief as the case had been in court for five years.

“We are now in charge of hosting every (amateur) Muaythai event,” said Sakchaye. He said he would now register his organisation with the National Olympic Committee of Thailand (NCOT) which previously refused to recognise the IFMA.

MAT boss Santiparb Interatat said he was surprised but accepted the ruling.

“I am still president of the Asian Muaythai Federation,” he said. “From now on, we will carry out our activities in Thailand under a new organisation called the Muaythai Association.”

The IFMA is backed by the Sports Authority of Thailand and Nat Indarapana, a member of the International Olympic Committee, while Santiparb enjoys the backing of the NOCT. In essence both organizations still have separate committees both backed by their choice in requisite powers of  the Thai government.  MAT has never dabbled in professional Muay Thai while the IFMA’s parent organization (with precisely the same staff) World Muay Thai Council (WMC) are an independent sanction for professional Muay Thai.

What follows is my offering of food for thought.

If the WMC cannot get professional Muay Thai right, why trust their sister organization IFMA with amateur Muay Thai?  Especially when it consists of the exact same executive staff responsible for the WMC’s current state of no-rankings, titles granted and revoked at will, multiple same weight world champions, blacklisting fighters and camps, and so many conflicts of interests up front that even an international boxing promoter as infamous as Don King would balk at the prospect of doing the same thing in boxing in the USA because of its outright illegal nature.

Since the inception of WMC, they have not had a coherent professional ranking to the present: well over 20 years later. The WMC have had multiple simultaneous world title holders, operated their own Muay Thai camp and have managed fighters from this camp.  All of these activities pretty thoroughly undermine the WMC’s credibility as any meaningful independent sanction to be taken seriously and in my opinion will ultimately doom any effort for Muay Thai to be ever become taken seriously as an internationally recognized amateur sport. If Muay Thai cannot govern itself in any meaningful way both in conduct, rankings or at minimum avoid blacklisting its own practioners in the interests of a promoter how can it be looked upon internationally as anything more than something of a comic impression of a real sport? How can the heads of the biggest, worst run professional combat sport organization possibly make this much headway into representing Muay Thai professionally as well?

It seems the answer is the obvious one:  Thai admiration of title and inflated official position is as great as the international love for manufactured authority and title. On the backs of many well crafted press releases and continued legal ploughing in court the IFMA has been granted official Thai backing.  The press releases and sanction money funneled through WMC’s professional front of non-ranked world title events made it possible. And Muay Thai’s professionals and fans’ deference and ignorance of and about it fueled it.

I just wonder how many people are going to be smart enough to see the difference between good hype and what is truly good for the sport. The only people that can ever change Muay Thai for the better are the people in it. Much like any true big international sport:  if unwatched sanction simply cannot be trusted. Also much like any true big international sport the strongest corrective force in the sport is its fans and practitioners.  One has to remember despite all the figureheads and shaking hands with important old men in suits any sanction only has the power fans and fighters give them. No matter which branch of government decides which sanctioning party worthy of their authority, a sanction’s worthiness is granted by the fans.

In the present day it’s not a matter of making Muay Thai get more attention.  In my opinion there are more than enough people willing and able to hype events, I do it as well. What’s lacking is professionals and participants in Muay Thai willing to make Muay Thai worthy and deserving of more attention. I’ve got a lot more to say on this topic but this should suffice as it applies to the IFMA.

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Thanks for reading.

~ by fatsoking on May 31, 2010.

16 Responses to “IFMA Becomes Sole Authority of Amateur Muay Thai”

  1. […] respective organization’s push for Muay Thai as Olympic event. I reported early on the 5 year long enduring court battle finally coming to an end with IFMA being the sole authority. However the fallout of the decision is […]

  2. I think you need to check your facts. AMTAT is the Thai National association under IFMA and Dr Sakchye Tapsuwan. Santiparp is from a rival organisation who have attempted to muddy the waters by representing a ‘muay’ sport (not even allowed to call it muaythai), him and his ‘Association’ are the laughing stock of the sport and its made up of a bunch of absolute dunces who couldnt even run a bath. Satiparp has resigned since this supremem court decision.
    IFMA on the other hand is well respected, recognised by SportAccord, professionally run and actually if you check the leadership of IFMA and WMC (IFMA President Sakchye Tapsuwan, WMC President Chetta Thenajaro) you will find it is completely different. Any confusion as to ‘multiple world titles’ for professional muaythai comes not from WMC’s sanctioning but from the many other so-called sanctioning bodies for the sport (WMF and WMA being examples and again attributable to good old Santiparp). So please give correct information.

    • Both are equally clueless and WMC has factually had multiple world champions in the exact same title and weight category. Dispute it however you like, it remains a fact. Next you better check with the Wakelings and the Harrrisons how WMC yanked titles from them without notice or opportunity to fight for them. Never mind their endless shenanigans in the USA and Thailand. My question still stands: If WMC cannot get a remote grip of authentic credibility in their professional ranks why are they attempting to chase amateur Muay Thai?

      Also What does WMA and WMF’s complete lack of credibility have to do with WMC’s long standing lack of credibility? And the WMC’s all round status of being immense liars and snake oil sales men? You better ask Buakaw and the entire Sitsongpeenong camp first. Nice try Emma but you should actually know what you’re talking about first. The WMA and WMF have a long way to go before becoming a promoter’s best friend the way WMC is. IFMA is in fact a hand puppet staffed by the same staff as WMC there is no arguing any way out of it. It hardly matters what figurehead sits at the top WMC themselves acknowledge it’s staffed by the same people.

      By the way Santiparp appears to have been exonerated in court as well from all of the WMC’s accusations didn’t he? However yes I do believe he is as equally bad as anyone in IFMA or WMC.
      If you’ve found the WMC’s brand of propaganda to your taste. Enjoy but don’t expect anyone else to.

    • By the way Emma seen any WMC’s pro rankings lately? Yeah no one else has either because they don’t exist.

  3. This is some very interesting reading and since our organisation and I have been attacked on this website I thought I should write to make some facts clear.

    This is Stephan Fox, General Secretary of IFMA, Vice President of WMC. No idea who I am talking to maybe you also can introduce yourself. Maybe you can enlighten me who you are and who or what made you such an expert. I care little if you try to tarnish my name as my achievements speak for themselves, but it seems to me you are just attacking with false and childish comments.

    Let me first lecture you a little on national and international sport practice and the involvement of the National Olympic Committees (NOC), National (NF) and International Federations (IF).

    It seemed like you have little (or actually no understanding) of any of this so I will try to make it as simple as possible for you.

    Firstly, IFMA is an International Federation (IF) made up of 128 national and 5 continental Federations. The supreme court case in Thailand was between the Sport Authority of Thailand (SAT in government speak) & MAT (Muaythai Association of Thailand). SAT recognised AMTAT (Amateur Muaythai Association of Thailand ) a member of IFMA representing Thailand. MAT took SAT to court as they feel they should be the one . One more fact – the President of IFMA and AMTAT is the same person….

    For your record IFMA is not under Thai law as we are a International Federation. The outcome of the court case was to decide which NF rightfully can use the name Thailand, can organise national and international events in Thailand and can send athletes to events sanctioned by OCA (Olympic Committee of Asia) and sport accord by example.

    So AMTAT our member had always the right to use the IFMA logo and all our world championships in Thailand have been and will be organized by AMTAT.

    SAT won the court case so AMTAT is the only NF for the sport of Muaythai in Thailand – so no changes on the national level for us

    So what have we learned so far? We have learned that there is a National Federation which again is affiliated to a world body, and that the winner of this dispute is already a member of IFMA…

    Let me explain this to you in terms of other sports – the English football association is made out of many English clubs and is affiliated to FIFA – on the continental level to UEFA.

    If MAT would have won this dispute than MAT would have had to join IFMA the recognised world body…that already has been pre-agreed by the National Olympic Committee and SAT.

    Let’s move on in our little lesson

    we will talk about the National Olympic committees and responsibilities.

    The National Olympic Committee let’s say Thailand for Muaythai endorse national athletes who then participate in multi-sport games such as Indoor Asian, Sea Games. They work together with the National Federation …so it is not the National Olympic Committee which endorses an IF only an NF….IFMA already is recognised by SportAccord (former GAISF) a partner of the IOC & certainly is in support of IFMA as the IF for the sport. The National Olympic Committees are partners of the IOC and also the continental Olympic committees (in Asia this is the OCA). If you open the website of the OCA you will learn that it is IFMA which is recognised as the IF for the sport of Muaythai

    A different example – lets take the Beijing SportAccord games which are organized by IFs. Not by NOCs.

    The athlete qualifies and the NF endorsed athletes will travel to Beijing. IFMA than as the IF is responsible for all technical matters.

    Let me give you there again an example let’s say basketball AN Olympic sport …

    Lets pick again England for the Olympic games …it is the English Basketball Federation which sends a team to qualify for the Olympics …if qualified the English Olympic Committee will endorse the team but it is FIBA the world body responsible for technical parts and the event during the Olympics.

    So what did we learn in this paragraph we learned who is responsible for endorsing athletes or teams and partly the responsibilities of an IF …VERY GOOD we’re getting somewhere

    Know let’s have a look at IFMA

    Muaythai is included in many multi sport games and is one of the 13 Martial arts in Beijing. We have proper commissions in place such as youth, female in order to develop the sport. We follow strictly the values and ethics and have a strict constitution. We do in and out of competition drug testing strictly enforcing fair play and are a member of WADA. I could go on and on but don’t want to make it too complicated for you ….I think it is enough for one day

    When you understand all this then I will start to explain to you why the WMC has been set up under the directive of the Royal Thai government….the roles we play within promoters and National Federations , the different sections of WMC, Muay Boran, Krabi Krabong, competition…… I also will explain to you the difference between WMC and WMF example one is amateur and one is professional…..but as you do not understand the basics of amateur muaythai, the Olympic principles and the connection between NF , CF , IF then there is no need to talk about professional side.

    So again maybe you can identify yourself to me tell me your achievements in the sport, where are you from, what gym so we can see what makes you stand out from our over 30 executives representing 128 NFs.

    I hope your understanding of the practical side is far better than your understanding on the administrative side ..

    My friend, we have been attacked here for far too long..I am one of many and I am proud to be part of this group of muaythai enthusiasts taking the sport forward … maybe prove me wrong tell us about your achievements ….otherwise I urge you to get your facts rights before you open your mouth because you look like a three year old bubbling on trying to understand the world…so don’t worry things will become clear when others explain things to you… …..I am at your service.

    But please before you further dribble all over your key pad, understand our sport and the direction we are taking…..and if you feel we are doing things wrong then join us and help us to make it better…but my friend this takes hard work and not just senseless posts.

    A last word of advice I find it highly disrespectful when someone hides behind a laptop and attacks the President of IFMA, WMC …Let me tell you about these Presidents ..IFMA President – former governor of all sports in Thailand , Former world Vice President of AIBA , Technical chairman of 1998 Asian Games, technical chairman Sea Games ….and by the way a Doctor in Sport Management…President WMC Honorary President NOC Thailand, the former President of Thailand Boxing Association (in which Thailand took the first ever gold medal in Atlanta) ah I forgot former commander of Thai army and Defense minister …..

    And you are again???????

    Get some respect it’s the foundation of our sport….and you must get your facts right

    Thank you

    Stephan Fox

    • Thanks for the ‘lecture’ which doesn’t disprove a single thing I’ve said. All you’ve done is reiterate exactly what the Thai news article said and in fact restate what the IFMA press clipping white washed by not making a single mention of the years of court battles that led up to IFMA being the sole representative. As for who I am it’s right on this page where it says ABOUT ME. That entire reading thing is something you may find to be a useful skill in the future.

      If you take anything I say as an attack because I don’t agree with the WMC and think the complete lack of credibility, your treatment of Kem and all in Sitsongpeenong, and the revoking of title holders without an opportunity lack professionalism, courtesy and any stripe of credibility let me know. Personally I find such things at minimum worthy of comment and yes critique. You are a public entity even before your appearances on a mismatched reality television show. This makes you worthy of commenting on and of course responding in kind. If you don’t like it and think you can intimidate me and threaten me into silence you better think again. This is not WMM and I am not one of your hand puppets in the media. My achievements or lack of don’t make the WMC’s practice of blacklistsing, having multiple same weight world champions, no rankings and pandering to the lowest level of commercial interests go away. The Olympics work precisely as you say. And the IOC is in fact looking to cut events and not add more also exactly as I said.

      Tell me Herr Fox why is it the United States has a IFMA World Team comprised of members only from Oakland and San Fransisco? Last I checked the United States of America has in fact 50 states and the requisite cities within them. There is in fact an America that extends beyond the bay area.

      Before you slobber all over your keyboard (it’s called a keyboard not a keypad) you need to clean your own house before someone who has been Mark Burnett’s hand puppet can look into mine. I am going to paraphrase a quote from you actually: respect is earned not given. You need to either formerly register WMC as a foreign power and stop trying so hard to actually manipulate Canadian policy in regards to sports. When WMC demonstrates to me they are actually good caretakers of the sport believe me I will be first to praise them publicly. Also as a member of WMC Herr Fox why do you manage and promote fighters ? IS this not at minimum a conflict of interest and at maximum a collusion? Until then I see mostly the carnage and damage being done to the sport with no attempt at improvement or care about the harm being done.

      I do quite enjoy your tactic of changing the focus on me when the facts about WMC are pretty clear and supported by testimony of fighters, gyms, and trainers internationally. No amount of red herring attacks are going to give you credibility but maybe someone can teach you the basics of web navigation one day. Your whole lengthy explanation of American Basketball while utterly diverting and self-serving doesn’t dispute anything I said. Emma and yourself are wise to not mention the various shenagians as an organization the WMC is responsible for. Which leads to my commentary (yes, commentary not news) on the WMC as a whole.

    • Also in regards to the Thai military figureheads. In my opinion again almost none of them in any organization not just WMC (to be fair) know how to do anything with Muay Thai internationally.

      I may make a separate commentary piece on that very topic at a later date. Now that you’re reader you can of course respond in comments Mr.Fox with out fear of being censored. At least you respond here if not to the multiple email queries I’ve made.

    • Also you are quite right about the various government parties having eroneously been abbreviated. That has been corrected.

  4. To be honest I didn’t even bother to read your full post Stephan. After all the years involved in this sport I have grown tired of the WMC and IFMA PROPAGANDA that surfaces on the internet every now and then: You never bring anything new or credible to the table. Instead you talk and act like we are still in the middle of the cold war – representing the Communist side!

    You start off your post by trying to bring Fatso down because it hurts when you are being criticized publicly. Yes it hurts but bein in Muaythai (a pretty tough sport) you should be calloused by now. After all you’ve been acting up as Bozo the Clown for IFMA and WMC for MANY years now.

    I remember VERY well when I e-mailed you in 2000 (YES: Ten years ago) to ask for rankings as I was a promoter at the time and was thinking about using the WMC as sanctioning body. ALL I got was rude e-mails from you sayin your typical phrase: “Who are you to talk to me like that – do you know who I am?!”, LOL. EVER since this incident you have blacklisted me and TOTALLY ignored me even though I’m probably far more known on the international Muaythai circuit for brining the fans credible and exciting news; helped launch World Muaythai Magazine; worked for your buddy Michael Schiavello – spreading Oceania Muaythai to the rest of the world and the European Muaythai scene to the Oceanian fans; working for SuperLeague, making it the biggest combined kick and Thaiboxing promotion outside of Thailand so far etc. etc. etc. etc.

    When we finally met face-to-face in stockholm where I managed to get Bruce McFie a fight at Kasra’s (another one of your blindfolded followers) event you topped my ranking (please look up the word on Cambridge Online Dictionary) of ‘Most arrogant person ever!’. Not even any eye contact. It felt good for me personally to see how afraid you are of us who speaks the truth but at the same time it hurt like hell as you are a front figure of Muaythai.

    Stephan Fox. It’s time to wake up and stop FUCKING up the Thai national sport – there are VERY few important people within international Muaythai who respects you (and because of that the IFMA and WMC) so stop whining and acting like something you are not and clean up the IFMA and WMC or you will be without a job soon and our sport will diminish like it never excisted!

    PS: The word corruption can also be looked up on Cambridge Dictionary (but you probably knew that already…)!

  5. Right I just read the post of Stephan Fox and I must say I was quite shocked: I didn’t know anybody could be SUCH a big fool when heading an international organisation.

    Keep ’em coming Mr. Fox: Empty vessels rattle the most!

  6. GO, MICHAEL, GO!!! You keep fighting the good fight and do what’s right for the sport you love with all your heart.

  7. Good day!

    I am Orlando Lapuz of National Muay thai Council of the Philippines – NMCP, I would like to respectfully inquire about the status of my affiliation to your organization way back 1995. I believe MUAY Ass’n of the Philippines thru late Mr. R. Valdez is now recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee.

    Since the former president was gone, I am appealing to your good office to re-evaluate my recognition once again. I believe I brought Muay thai in Philippines and continuously supporting the art in the present.

    Thank you!

  8. had already post the same comment on a post ifma vs wmf

    here is my opinion about ifma

    Was working with ifma before. but quit. Only thing that they care about is money. I quit for WMF this year and there are many organisations doing so. In IFMA championship they claim that there were lot of participants and thousand of spectators when the truth is stadium empty clearly see on on the photos.

    IFMA is just lie, and using money power to get thing sort out. they are smashing the real culture of muay Thai. All that they want is to be Olympic for the huge amount of money involved.

    All that i can tell about ifma is just masking bad organisation and bad treatment for athletes.
    Many things are just written on paper when the truth its not like that

    I feel very in comfortable working with ifma because all about they care is money and money

    I hope that muay Thai will never be into Olympic represented by ifma, too arrogant people there

    better way is to set up a new organisation to take muay thai to Olympic an organisation which can set up selection and in all countries no matter you are ifma; wmf or any other amateur federation you send your candidature you participate and the best is selected and goes to Olympic or world game.

    Working like that will be more interesting so that people can see around who are real champions: because athletes are putting their body and mind through hell in they training, then federation and organisation comes and mess all this out.

    hope that an Olympic cometee member can read this

    simple fact in my country many poor people but many good team banned to participate to ifma competition just because we do not have money to pay for expensive affiliations.

    Big business with poor people: thats a shame and unfair

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