Originally Posted by Aaron Contreras
In case, something is misinterpreted, in anyway: whatever I post, comes with the utmost respect and contains no sarcasm. Sorry for my ignorance -- but here we go.
- I vaguely remember hearing Muay Thai fighters retire relatively early? (Primarily due to the damage on their bodies for so long.) Any truth to this?
- How are losses looked upon in the Muay Thai circuit? As in Japan, the fanbase does care too much for win/loss records. And of course, here in the states one loss can derail a prospect's entire career.
Thanks for anyone's time.
That’s one of the politest posts I’ve ever seen! I’ll try to reciprocate. I’ve written a lot about these topics already in this thread, but I’ll try to sum it up.
What you have to understand first is that these guys aren’t fighters in the sense we are familiar with in the west, where recreational interest accounts for most guys first walking into a fight gym. In Thailand most are “pushed” into it very young , maybe 8 (although I’ve seen much younger) by family who need a bit of extra income or who can’t a afford to raise their kids alone. The sport solely exists for the gamblers and these guys are viewed purely as commodities and are “owned” by their gym’s owners and handlers. They are usually purchased at a young age from small provincial gyms, brought to their new gym usually in Bangkok where they will live eat and breathe only Muay Thai until they leave in many cases maybe over a decade after they arrived. The manner in which they leave the gym largely depends on how they fight. Many leave injured, many get released after losing streaks having become a financial liability, but most get released after having repeatedly gone to war month in month out for years until finally they just have nothing left to give and are thrown on the scrap heap.
The majority of fighters are done by time they’re 22-25, having had anywhere from 100 to 300 pro fights. Many guys end up with nothing (remember there is a 50-50 split with the gym), maybe a little noodle stand on the street or a second rate karaoke bar on some back soi somewhere and they’re the semi lucky ones. Most however, become taxi drivers, go home and become farmers or gunmen in illegal casinos where a lot can wind up dead. Options are limited for a normal Thais let alone a man that’s been bred only to kick ass since he was 8! One gym I trained at did try to help by taking a % of the fighters purse and putting it in a savings account for the fighter, but I dread to think how that turned out when the gym struck hard times. The luckier ones manage to get out of the country and train abroad, which isn’t easy or secure financially, not to mention Thais aren’t great long term travellers they tend to miss home too much. The very select few of maybe only 4 fighters Somluck, Samart, Khoasai and now possibly Buakaw get regular TV work.
The exception to the above trend are the guys like Buakaw, Jomhod, Khem, Singmanee etc who have managed to get a bit more longevity out of their careers as they wind up about 70 kilos which is just right for the international MT and K-1 scene which pays well and is a much easier day at the office compared to their heydays back in Thailand in lower weight divisions when they were younger. By time these guys are fighting abroad in the west they are past their primes, but still manage to dominate.
In terms of losses on the record well, they do matter but only really from a financial point, there is little room for sentimental favourites in the cattle market of the Thai fight scene. Most fighters tend to fight for the same promoters so if they lose their payday goes down the next time and if they keep losing they probably get bumped down to a lesser stadium and so on until the gym then dumps them. Thais want to see 5 rounds of “beautiful” boxing or to translate 5 rounds of backward and forward frenetic action that allows gamblers & bookies to make lot of money, so being a KO artist can also hurt your chances of advancement up the ladder, remember it’s all about the gambling and who wants to bet against a KO specialist, where’s the thrill in that! If you box bravely and make it close people like that, but on the whole you gotta win, there’s just way too much competition out there for people to remember you unless you’re great! And if your great you’ll probably wind up fighting the same other greats of the time repeatedly, it’s not uncommon for guys to sometimes meet upwards of 6 times!
There’s loads more on this topic spread out in this thread, but here’s alink where we talk about it more in depth: