Sports Authority of Thailand chief says that the introduction of mixed martial arts in the country through ONE Championship is a threat to the traditional Thai combat sport of Muay Thai.
ONE Championship may see its initial fight card in Thailand go down the drain, as protectionist measures by Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) forced the national sanctioning body to thumb down ONE’s clearance.
The news came just days after ONE Championship announced that it would become the first mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion to enter the Kingdom of Thailand.
According to the Bangkok Post, Sakol Wannapong, governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand refuses to allow ONE Championship to hold its May 27 slate at the Impact Arena to push through due to the sport’s violent nature.
“I would say this competition is against the law. To have such a sport event staged in the country should be declared illegal. It is not a sport. It is so cruel. Let the Interior Ministry take care of this issue,” said Sakol.
“The SAT’s boxing committee has discussed this and agreed not to allow the competition in the country. I do not know about their plans, but as the nation’s sports-controlling body, the SAT will not sanction it.”
“We have seen some Muay Thai fighters entering MMA events abroad, but it cannot be allowed to be staged in Thailand.”
Additionally, the entrance of MMA through ONE Championship may prove detrimental to the SAT’s effort to bring Muay Thai to the global stage of the Summer Olympics.
“We are pushing for Muay Thai’s inclusion in the Olympic Games. We should not let other similar kind of sports ambush our efforts. In the past, Buakaw [Por Pramuk] had joined the MMA ranks when he had a problem with his former camp a few years ago. But we asked him not to do that because he is a Muay Thai hero and an ambassador for our traditional sport.”
Hometown hero Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke is penciled in to defend his strawweight title in the main event, but the hopes of him doing so may be dashed at the hands of the SAT.