Fighters have their fair share of challenges both in and out of the ring. They learn to deal with the ups and downs of Muay Thai. Some things just suck. But other things are simply unacceptable.
Although disliking something can be highly subjective, here are some common experiences and opinions from Muay Thai fighters of things they really don’t like.
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A weight cut involves purely water loss via dehydration and/or water manipulation methods. It can be challenging and exhausting, and it requires strict dietary restrictions and intense workouts.
Weight cutting isn’t always done in a safe manner, and there have, unfortunately, been instances of people being hospitalized or dying from cutting too much weight (some examples fighters we’ve lost are Jessica Lindsay and Jordan Coe). Whether it’s done in a safe manner or not, dehydration is dehydration. Your body is under red alert, telling every bit of you, Danger! Danger!
This probably speaks for itself. Injuries are frustrating because it forces fighters to miss fights and training sessions. Our sense of routine may throw us off balance.
Muay Thai is a contact sport, and injuries are common. Sitting on the sidelines is difficult for a lot of fighters. The pain and recovery time are frustrating to deal with.
While winning is not imperative to be successful or to become better, Muay Thai is a competitive sport. And, let’s face it: nobody trains hard to lose. Losing can be disappointing and frustrating. They put a lot of time and effort into their training, and losing can be demotivating.
Bad Judges’ Decisions
Sometimes, fighters may feel that they won a fight, but the judges’ decision goes against them. When judges favor fighters for whatever reason (nationality, other personal biases), they’re compromising everything. It’s almost an attempt at invalidating the work the fighters put in.
Officials should be fair, unbiased, and see fighters as how they show up in the ring. Nothing less, nothing more. This can be frustrating and demoralizing, as the outcome of a fight can have a significant impact on a fighter’s career.
If you’ve been in this territory, you know exactly how much this sucks and how drained it feels. To quote an article I wrote for Muay Thai Guy, “People often confuse this term with feeling fatigued, but take note: overtraining is not as simple as that. Its consequences are quite sobering, especially for those who are serious about their progress.”
Overtraining leads to burnout, injuries, and more. It’s important (yet difficult) to find the right balance between training and rest to avoid overexertion.
Poor sportsmanship is usually characterized as disrespectful behavior towards opponents or excessive celebrations after a win. One of the things that draw many people to Muay Thai is its culture of honor and respect, and poor sportsmanship can be seen as a violation of these values.
Trash-talking, not touching gloves, intentional fouls, hitting someone after the bell… these are not good reflections of essence of Muay Thai.
This article is not intended to complain, but to raise awareness, create new norms, and encourage change. Let’s work together to create a better, safer, and more supportive environment for all fighters.
[I speak about this subject more in depth in a podcast episode]