This post will be different than my prior posts in that this is an account of my own experience. I usually write about other fighters, but I had a lot of people ask what it was like to fight in MMA gloves, and also how wearing a female groin protector was like. BE PREPARED to read the word “crotch” many many times.
I got kicked in the crotch really hard during a fight in October. My opponent was also much bigger than me, and it was so much more painful than all the other low blows (due to size and the hard part of her shin turning right onto my pubic bone) I’ve received that I had to tell the ref that she kicked me there. He stood between us, allowing me to take a few breaths during that first round and let the pain pass. The pain did not pass, but I had a lot of adrenaline (and some anger) coursing through me so I pressed on. To make matters worse, I told Monlit right before the second round began that my crotch hurt a lot, and he pulled my shorts WAY HIGH that it put unnecessary pressure on my already-sore crotch. After the fight (which ended in a draw), it was difficult to walk, sit, and get out of a seat properly due to the amount of pain I was in. In the couple weeks following, I had a couple of my training partners kick and knee me in the groin during sparring and clinching. It took over a month for the pain to completely go away. Now, three months after that fight, the thought of going through that pain still makes me shudder.
After this horrible experience that I never ever want to go through ever again, Lobloo graciously sent me their Aeroslim female pelvic protector. To make things clear, Lobloo sent me this but they DID NOT pay me to write this article, nor did they ask me to promote them in any way. I would never endorse something I didn’t believe in, so, spoiler alert: their groin protectors are awesome.
Brooke vs Sawsing
It’s a bit of a funny story how I got in touch with Sawsing Sor Sopit. Sawsing fought Brooke Farrell at Muay Hardcore’s inaugural show, and I didn’t even think about going until my teammate from Sitan NY, Jessica, mentioned it to me. She and some other people we knew from the US were training with us, and we decided just a couple days before that we were going to go watch history go down between two great fighters. I decided to bring a camera so I could have material for Muay Ying, and also give the fighters some photos to promote themselves with (this can be difficult as a female Muay Thai fighter, so I wanted to help). I waltzed my way to the shabby parking lot where the fighters were warming up and getting their hands wrapped and snapped some pictures. I exchanged a few words with both Brooke and Sawsing. I went back to where the fights were and snagged front row seats by chance with Ahmad. Sawsing ended up sitting next to me for one of the fights to cheer on a fellow teammate. He won by knockout, and I got a selfie with her before she left to rest up before her own bout. Almost all fights ended by way of knockout, and I remember telling Ahmad, “I don’t think I would fight with MMA gloves unless they paid me VERY well.”
I somehow meandered my way ringside and sat next to one of the EMT’s, comfortably resting my arms (and the camera in my hands) onto the ring canvas itself. Nobody said anything and nobody yelled at me for being there, so there I stayed. I took many pictures of the fight between Sawsing and Brooke.
Within the next couple days, I wrote a photo essay on Muay Ying, relaying the fight. I sent both fighters the link to the article. Sawsing privately messaged me on both Instagram and Facebook, asking for the photos. “I don’t know how to download them,” she laughed. We got to chatting a bit, and she told me to go cheer for her again the next time she fights. Just a few days after this, she was made the official matchmaker for female bouts on Channel 8, which included both the new promotion Muay Hardcore and the longer-standing promotion Super Champ.
Now, I’m not sure if she contacted me because she was grateful I took pictures of her fight, or if the conversation between us was fresh in her mind, but she sent me a message asking if I still fought and what weight I fought at. I had mentioned to her before that I wanted to try my hand at the new promotion with MMA gloves. I sent her my profile and within hours I was matched up to fight on November 23 against Rungnapa Por Muengpetch. I had already fought her three times, with two of the wins belonging to me. I groaned a bit at having to fight her yet again, but I was also excited to prove myself against her in a different setting where her manager had no sway in favor. The last time we had fought, I lost. I severely overtrained that fight camp and didn’t realize it until it was much too late. I fought all five rounds, and I fought terribly, and… let’s just say her manager said a few things you had to read between the lines to know that he was rubbing the loss in my face. To make matters worse, it was during Naikhanomtom Day in Ayutthaya on a huge event.
I got the fight confirmed and I used revenge as my main motivator. I don’t recall ever having bad intentions geared towards an opponent prior to this fight camp. I also fully intended to wear my new Lobloo groin protector to prevent further mishaps, and also for peace of mind. Brooke had told me she was forced to wear a (men’s) cup when she fought earlier in the year at Super Champ and the crotch bulge she had was hilarious but not something anyone wants. Not to mention, steel male cups seem very uncomfortable.
I followed the video Lobloo had about preparing the groin protector for use. It wasn’t too difficult, but I had to watch the video a few times to see which holes the elastics went through. I wore it to spar and clinch during training. Much to my surprise, it was so comfortable that I completely forgot I was wearing it at the end of training, and sometimes rode back to my apartment still wearing it. I had heard great things about this product, and I saw first-hand why so many people rave about it. I felt at ease knowing that it wasn’t going to slip into awkward places (like I’ve seen happen to men and their steel cups), and that it would be like I wasn’t wearing anything extra.
This camp was also my first time using MMA gloves. They take a little bit to get used to, but it wasn’t a drastic difference. The biggest difference was that I was able to see so much better without the bulkiness of regular boxing gloves in my peripheral vision. Also, I had to make a much tighter fist when I punched to prevent hurting my hand. My knuckles started turning colors. I wasn’t really sure what was happening with them, but I wasn’t in any pain so I shrugged it off.
Weigh ins were across the road from the venue in front of a gym called Jaroenthong Muay Thai in a very little alleyway called “Muay Thai Street”. As usual, Monlit and I got there early. We weighed in, filled out some forms, got a check up from a doctor, and took some official photos. I laughed during the face-off, not because I found her to be funny but because I always feel so awkward doing them.
I have been around cameras for fights, but this was my first time taking special photos in front of a green screen. One pair of white shorts and one pair of black shorts were passed around by all the fighters (ew) for the photos. I was told how to pose and where to look. It wasn’t overly complicated.
Monlit decided to tell the guy doing the video interviews that I knew how to speak Thai, so the guy wanted me to do an interview, too. My Thai is by no means perfect and there are still a lot of words and phrases I don’t understand. Under pressure and still dehydrated, I had to look to Monlit to translate some of the questions for me. I answered questions like, “What is your name? Where are you from? How old are you? What’s your fighting style? You’ve fought her before, what’s your opponent good at? From 0-100%, how fit do you feel for your fight? Who do you think is going to win?”
I re-hydrated on the way back, slept, ate a whole bunch, and made a checklist of the things to bring. My fight in October was so sharp in my mind that I wrote “Lobloo” first on the list!
I packed my bag, ate lunch, and we were on our way to the venue. It was a bit early, but we stayed at the accommodations they provided (upstairs from the gym) so I could rest. I didn’t nap for very long because I kept envisioning the fight and the game plan. Monlit got a call around 5pm that all the fighters were to go to the venue right away. There was a very short rehearsal of how to enter the ring and what to do when the cameras pan over for introductions, and then we all went into the shabby parking lot to rest, get our hands wrapped, and warm up.
About an hour later, one of the officials called a meeting. It was all in Thai, and I was grateful I understood what he said because there was no one translating this crucial information. He reminded all of us that this fight was under entertainment rules, which is very different from stadium rules. Even under entertainment rules, there’s a spectrum, and they made it very clear which end of the spectrum they were on. We were instructed to come forward and not step back. Stepping back meant admitting defeat and it could cost us the fight. All strikes were equal, he said, and “the fighter that does more will win”. Monlit gave me with a confused look and said, “This isn’t Muay Thai”. I found it to be amusing that I had been training in Thailand for over 3.5 years and was taught to fight a certain way, just to be told that it’s better (in this situation) to fight the same way people do back home in the US.
The floor was gravel and wasn’t the best place to shadowbox, but I did what I could to warm up and move around. They gave us the gloves, and they were much more padded than I expected them to be. The promotion said the gloves were 4 oz, but they felt more like 6 or even 8 oz. The ones I used during training were much lighter. I put on the groin protector and continued to work.
I was the fifth fight. When the third fight was almost done, they told us to wait at the bottom of the parking lot ramp. When the fourth fight started, we were told to wait behind the bleachers. I tried watching some of the fight, but there were a lot of people, so I couldn’t see. I did my best to focus on what to do. And then, it was time.
I entered the ring first, and I surprised myself by smiling upon entering the ring. I usually am very stoic and don’t want anything to do with the camera, but I was very excited for this fight to start.
She threw a kick first, and I teeped. I threw my first punch. Upon landing, it felt very solid. And every single punch that landed felt solid and satisfying. As I started getting into a groove, I felt my body finally respond to what my brain wanted it to do, something that doesn’t always happen in my fights. Also, I felt the impact of incoming punches, but they didn’t hurt. Or maybe it was the adrenaline. My head was moving, I was framing and setting up shots. My corners told me that the punches were working for me and that she was getting tired. “You definitely need to keep using that right hand.” I won by second round KO with my right hand.
Monlit jumped into the ring and pranced around. He was so happy I won and I was, too. I had never knocked out anyone to the head before, so I was surprised when she dropped.
Before the night was over, I probably watched the replay of the entire fight at least 50 times. I saw that I got kneed in the crotch a few times and her shin slid there as a byproduct of her knees. I also ate more punches than I felt, and cringed at my technique throughout the fight (what else is new?). In retrospect, the combination of being very motivated, being in good shape, my body responding well, and not having to worry about crotch pain really helped me get this victory.
I made a short video of the times I saw myself getting a low blow of some sort from the official fight video:
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After my fight I was asked if my crotch hurt and that I should ice it…😧 to be honest, I didn’t even notice I got hit in the groin and hip area by knees and byproducts of knees until I rewatched the fight. Thanks to my @lobloo female groin protector aka #groinshield , none of the less-than-perfect shots took me away from my momentum on Saturday 👍🏼 use code ANGELA for 10% off your order!
Like the video caption says, if you want to try out Lobloo’s products, use code ANGELA for 10% off your order. I do not get commission from any sales, I would just like to help out anyone who’s interested in avoiding the tremendous pain I was in. I learned the hard way! Don’t end up like Angela in October!
And here’s the official fight video! By the way, they wrote I was part of Revolution instead of Sitsongpeenong for some reason, even though we clearly wrote that I was under the latter:
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