A huge show at the famed Lumpinee Boxing Stadium early March became the source of a major cluster of COVID-19 infections in Thailand. When people who attended the show started testing positive for the virus (the most notable of these people was Muay Thai announcer and singer Matthew Deane), this quickly led to the shut down of Muay Thai gyms and fights. To date, gyms are still closed and fights are still not allowed to take place. In Thailand, a lot of people who aren’t involved in the Muay Thai industry started heavily criticizing Muay Thai amidst all the chaos – cities and airports being closed, a mandatory curfew from 10 pm to 4 am, mass unemployment, and just general fear. A lot of the criticism and insults aimed at the Muay Thai industry were most likely a result of looking for a place to blame. Here are some facts about the Muay Thai industry that those in Thailand criticizing Muay Thai and those outside the country don’t know about the art of eight limbs.
The following is a translation of a post that was originally in Thai, made by muayted789 on Facebook. The following images also belong to that media page.
#1: Muay Thai stadia generate income for the country from a tourism perspective. There are no less than 200 foreigners in attendance on any given day in the major stadiums.
#2: More than 100,000 people a year travel to Thailand to train and learn Muay Thai. Many of these people use their knowledge from their time here to open up gyms in their home countries.
#3: Muay Thai is not just limited to being within Thai culture. It’s an important vehicle for people to know about Thailand and for them to want to go visit (and potentially bring money into the country).
#4: Muay Thai is a career path for many born in less fortunate areas in the country.