With COVID-19 forcing the shut down of Muay Thai shows and fights, Thai fighters are without their main source ofincome. Unlike Western fighters, virtually all Thai fighters didn’t have a choice in the matter when it comes to competing. Driven by economic and financial hardships, they start competing at a young age to help their families put food on the table and make ends meet. If they show any promise, a gym, usually in Bangkok, will pick them up and sign them as a roster fighter. The alternative to Muay Thai is often farming.
Muay Thai fights and gyms were officially ordered to stop on March 17, but many stadiums and promotions had already cancelled shows before that date. Now, with more than a month of no fights and with no end to the Muay Thai drought in sight, Muay Thai fighters are turning to other means to make income. The virus’ impact has not discriminated against level of fighter or their prestige – multiple time champions are picking up blue collar jobs that are available this time, as something is better than nothing.
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Kulabdam Sor.Jor.Piek-U-Thai – Nicknamed “The Executioner” due to his streak of knockouts (via punches) at Channel 7 Stadium in 2016.
-2017 Sports Writers Association of Thailand Fighter of the Year
-2017 Thailand champion @ 135 lb
-2018 Lumpinee Stadium champion @ 135 lb
-2018 Lumpinee Stadium Fight of the Year Award (vs Muangthai PK Saenchaimuaythaigym)
-2019 Lumpinee Stadium champion @ 140 lb
-2019 Lumpinee Stadium Fight of the Year Award (vs Nuanglanlak Jitmuangnon)
Currently helping to sell noodles in his hometown of Surin province.
Muangthai PK Saenchaimuaythaigym – Nicknamed “The Elbow Zombie” due to his aggressive fighting style and knockouts via elbow.
-2012 Lumpinee Stadium light flyweight champion
-2014 Channel 7 Stadium super featherweight champion
-2014 Thailand Sports Authority Fighter of the Year
-2016 Lumpinee Stadium Fighter of the Year
-2017 Thailand Lightweight Champion
Currently selling vegetables at a market with his wife.
Petchdam Petchyindee – Nicknamed “Baby Shark”
-2015 Lumpinee Stadium champion @ 118 lb
-2015 Thailand champion @ 118 lb
-2017 Toyota Marathon champion @ 126 lb
-2018 WBC Muay Thai World champion @ 126 lb
-Former ONE Kickboxing Flyweight World Champion
Currently helping out his family with farming.
Sawsing Sor. Sopit
-2010 WBC World champion @ 115 lb
-2012 WPMF World champion @ 126 lb
-2012 S1 champion @ 126 lb
-2017 WMC World champion @ 130 lb
Currently selling food products online via Facebook.
Yodkhunsuek Mubanchombueng – stadium fighter
Currently selling dried pork.
-WBA-Asia champion @ 154 lb
Currently selling eggs.
-Former PABA superlightweight champion
Currently delivering food.
Sangmanee Sor. Tienpo – Nicknamed “Million Dollar Baby”
-2012 Lumpinee Stadium champion @ 105 lb
-2012 Rajadamnern Stadium champion @ 112 lb
-2012 Rajadamnern Stadium champion @ 108 lb
-2012 S1 World Champion @ 110 lb
-2012 Sports Writers Association of Thailand Fighter of the Year
-2013 Rajadamnern Stadium champion @ 115 lb
-2014 King Fighter 4-man tournament champion @ 124 lb
-2017 True4U champion @ 135 lb
Currently delivering food.