MMA may be reaching new heights of popularity in America, but the people in Thailand don’t want it in their country.

The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) came to an agreement to ban all MMA events in the country.

SAT deputy governor Sakol Wannapong spoke with The Bangkok Post about the decision.

“It is brutal and it is not boxing,” said SAT deputy governor Wannapong who oversees professional sports.  “It is against the 1999 boxing law.” (Bangkok Post)

Perhaps the most perplexing quote at first glance from Wannapong about why MMA has been banned is his belief of what the sport will do to the country’s national sport of Muay Thai.

“Organizing MMA here could mislead the public into believing that Muay Thai is brutal.” (Bangkok Post)

MMA fans will be quick to point out the damage caused by a flurry of knees and elbows — two strikes that are prevalent in Muay Thai — but they forget the martial art’s place in Thailand.

Muay Thai may seem brutal to the outside world but in Thailand it is seen as a human art form. Much like watching a painter or sculptor work on a masterpiece, such is the appreciation from Thai fans for their martial art.

An example of the purity of the sport is the Wai Kru.

The Wai Kru — also known as the Ram Muay — is a ritualistic dance competitors do before engaging in combat. Although it may look like silly dancing to outside eyes, the act is seen as being very ritualistic and part of what makes Muay Thai such an art form in Thailand.

MMA fans in America may not understand the difference between “brutal” MMA and Muay Thai, but to the people of Thailand there is a clear difference. Enough for them to simply say “No” to MMA and wipe their hands clean of the sport.

Photo: Buakaw Por Pramuk (Chad Hill Photo)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.