Muay Thai in America and CSAC
By Mike LNg
As many of you already know the Muay Thai in America event came and went April 3, 2010 but now some details have come to the surface. About 3 weeks ago I was contacted by a number of parties in regards to non-payment for their services at this event as fighters. I am well aware of the ill will that will likely be generated by this post but I am obliged to follow my conscience and will again in this case. After the initial contact I moved forward to corroborate this story of non-payment. After I made some phone calls to the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) it was verbally confirmed that there were indeed outstanding payments not made by the staff behind Muay Thai in America to fighters. This confirmation was recently supported by confirmation by a gym owner who’s two fighters’ checks bounced but then later cleared.
As a result of the actions of Muay Thai in America the decisions made by CSAC in their meeting on April 20, 2010 are the following. The promoters of Muay Thai in America have been penalized by CSAC in the following ways:
- No promotion can happen under the Muay Thai in America banner until all outstanding payments are paid in full
- a temporary 120 day license is granted to promote future events
- Only money orders can be used as payment to all staff, officials and fighters working under Muay Thai in America
After a search for documentation to confirm these findings I was directed to the full 6 hour CSAC meeting of April 20th, 2010. What follows is the relevant clip covering Don McDaniels portion of the CSAC meeting.
Pay close attention to senior members remarks as well as Executive officer Dodd’s comments.
What follows is my commentary on this entire situation:
New promotional activities for Muay Thai are welcome and the challenges of a 1st time promoter can be daunting. One has to prove their liquidity, financial means to pay for insurance and in fact be bonded in most scenarios. Then the promoter must navigate for independent sanction to in effect give their fights relevance in the public eye. For events outside of the USA, a promoter has to at most cope with independent sanctioning and purses. Then the USA promoter must next assess his or her ability to come out of the other side of the event with profit in hand. After all it may be a labor of love but it’s not a soup kitchen. Bills need to be paid. The Thai Boxing Association of the USA while laudable for the good work they often do should have done their due diligence and ensured they had the purse money in hand before the event ever occurred. If the purses were not established and in hand before this event they should have refused to lend their sanction arm.
However having acknowledged the many struggles a first time promoter must undergo this is where my sympathy stops: when people don’t get paid for services rendered especially fighters. Fighters in the USA have a small window of opportunity to make their mark, lose time on their day jobs, and risk permanent injury to move forward and mark their achievement in the sport of Muay Thai. To not pay a fighter regardless of the excuse is not a point that can be defended. Included in this category are the officials. Anyone who labors that hard to make difficult calls all under the scrutiny of the watching audience and their peers deserves their pay.
The political landscape of professional Muay Thai in the United States can be an ugly place. And it seems to get uglier and more pandering in some cases every day. I see fighters being swept aside on posters in lieu of yet another new independent sanction name focused on to the exclusion of the fighters almost. I see and hear so many broad generalizations of promises to secure Muay Thai’s international future with beatific promises of integrity kept. The reality of it is independent sanctioning bodies and including promotions have only the power fans give them. Can the fans be smart enough to recognize a vanity project for what it is and something that is more about the fighter and the event? Be smart with your choices.
I put news of this promotion on my site and gladly informed my readers of this coming event in the hopes that something good would come of it. Even in California I believe there is room for everyone. It’s a big state and Muay Thai is a small sport. And as political as the landscape is clearly some promoters can and do make payments to staff and fighters without fail. Unfortunately this is not one of them. What this has instead done is given California Muay Thai another black eye and increased the scrutiny on all promoters. Watching the CSAC staff reactions to yet another person coming forward with low liquidity petitioning for a promoter’s license is very telling in the apparent mistrust on their faces.
Another factor to consider is even though it’s been 2 years since former executive officer of CSAC Armando Garcia exited, believe me when I say CSAC is bound and determined to prove themselves as a serious state athletic commission that is not to be taken lightly or viewed as sloppy. In this scenario I praise them for doing the right thing. And I do feel their measure of judgement was balanced and about as fair as can be.
Thanks for reading.