With organizations such as The International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur (IFMA) working hard to meet requirements for Amateur Muay Thai to become an Olympic discipline. Doing things such as heavily padding the competitors in head gear, shin pads, elbow pads and chest protectors to mimic other Olympic combat disciplines. Could this affect how Amateur Muay Thai practitioners move from the amateur to professional ranking? Is this trade-off worth the amount of exposure this would bring to Muay Thai on a global scale?
As someone who has competed in Amateur Muay Thai competition on an international level, I can say that this is an issue that should be tackled globally rather than locally, but we have been running into a few issues. The problem with this, especially here in the United States, is that each State has an athletic commission that must oversee all Amateur Muay Thai competition, and there is absolutely no communication between commissions. Not to mention Canada having their fair share of issues with their Athletic Commissions as well. There have been efforts by Amateur Muay Thai organizations such as the Thai Boxing Association, to oversee Amateur Muay Thai competitions and only report to the State Athletic Commissions when asked to appear, similar to how CAMO in California oversees Amateur Mixed Martial Arts competitions.
Amateur Muay Thai Overprotected?
I’ve competed in my fair share of Amateur Muay Thai competitions, some using shin pads and head gear, some that just require the boxers to wear gloves and elbow pads. In my opinion, everyone should be able to compete in Amateur Muay Thai competitions, with that being said, how do we handle the ones who are doing it for fun and the ones who are in search of a professional fight career? I believe Europe has a fairly good system setup, with a ranking system setup to ease Amateur Muay Thai competitors into the pro ranks. C, B, & A class ranking, with C class being the fully padded Amateur Muay Thai practitioners, B class removing the head gear, shin pads and chest protector, and A class being professional fighting with no padding except for gloves. I believe this system allows all to enjoy competition on all accounts.
Worth The Exposure?
With these few trade-offs that take place, I’d personally LOVE to see Amateur Muay Thai make it’s way into the Olympics. Sure, it can create some confusion as to how the art looks without all of the padding, but with the golden age of the internet, I think it’s important to just get people to hear the term “Muay Thai”. Just within the last few years, I’ve had less and less people not knowing what Muay Thai was, whereas before, they thought it was some exotic mix drink.
Questions or Comments? Do you have something to add for Amateur Muay Thai in the Olympics? Feel free to comment below!