Ryan and I recently attended our first Muay Thai fight here in Thailand. Otherwise known as “Thai Boxing”, Muay Thai is a full-contact combat sport that combines stand-up striking and the use of the fists, elbows, knees, and shins, along with various clinching techniques. For this reason, it is known as the “art of eight limbs.”
The event began at 9pm and was held at the Bangla Boxing Stadium in Patong. Tickets were sold at the door, ranging in price from $1700 TBH (for stadium seating) to $2500 THB (for VIP seating). This is about $57-$83 USD. We’d done enough looking around different parts of the island to know that these prices were legitimate and weren’t highly elevated for tourists. Here in Thailand, that is a lot of money, which shows just how highly the sport is valued.
People come from all over the world to train and compete in Muay Thai. On the night we attended, the competitors were from Thailand, France, Russia, China, and Israel and they ranged quite a bit in age as well. We got the “cheap” stadium seats but it worked out nicely because we sat high up directly below the fans. From here we could take in the whole ring at a glance.
The event began with a fight between two youngsters who displayed serious determination and great sportsmanship. It included (among many others) a brutal battle between female competitors that ended with bloodshed–no surprises there. It concluded with two different championship fights (I’m assuming in different weight classes). Everyone had a slightly different style which kept things interesting.
As a spectator, I had little idea of what was going on. I still enjoyed watching, however. To make things even more exciting, Ryan and I each bet on a contender at the beginning of every fight. I’m pleased to report that by the end of the night I had beat him soundly 5 to 2. While I know that this was entirely due to luck, I still walked out of there feeling like I’d won a small personal victory, and I didn’t even have to get in the ring to do it!