With a ban on professional Mixed Martial Arts in Thailand, the time is ripe!
The progress of MMA in non-Japanese Asia has grown exponentially in recent years, as the spread of support combined with PRIDE’s death and the stagnation of the Japanese market, to the point where a relatively new promotion in One FC can genuinely claim Asian dominance. With several major countries each boasting their own organisation, from Singapore’s One (who also host events in Malaysia and Indonesia), South Korea with Road FC, Hong Kong with Legend, China with RUFF, the Philippines with the URCC, Malaysia with MFC and F-3, India with the Super Fight League and FCC, and lastly Thailand with DARE, Asia has a ready made professional network (One FC’s network already encompasses four of the above, plus CFC in Australia and formerly DREAM) for when the time comes to implement this scheme which could lead to more opportunities for young fighters based in Asia to gain the necessary experience and platform before advancing to the level needed to fight in any of those top level promotions.
DARE Fighting Championships ran their product from Bangkok, but the heavy hand of the law has struck hard against them. Whatever the historical era, the biggest gangster outfits and the inevitable victors are always those working for the state, rather than against it (reference the SS) and there can be no circumventing the law from DARE’s perspective, unless – as rumoured – they relocate and stage shows from casinos or other suitable venues just over the Cambodian or Malaysian borders, and with their main fanbase being in Bangkok, both options seem rather unlikely.
An amateur circuit would nicely bypass formalities, and beyond a police bribe here or there, should be a seamless reintroduction of Mixed Martial Arts shows into the mecca of stand-up fighting, a country of great promise and potential and with some great fighters based and training there (at Phuket Top Team for example) where Muay Thai is something that equates to a religion, and is obviously hesitant to let other sports try to jack the market.
At the One Asia MMA Summit, Matt Hume, Heath Sims, Lili of Asia MMA, and Chatri of Evolve, talk in an open forum format to the invited guests about the formation of an amateur MMA circuit in Asia.
As ‘one’ who is based in Thailand, I certainly look forward to the implementation of said amateur circuit. The time is ripe, and the talent that could potentially be harnessed and developed over time would be a huge boost to these Asian promotions who stand most to gain from the fertile soil created from which prospects can grow and progress.
Watch this space.