Amateur MMA in Thailand takes another giant leap forward this year with its confirmed attendance at the 2018 IMMAF World Championships in Bahrain.
This will mark the first time that Thailand has been able to sent a team to an international MMA competition.
Despite exponential growth over the past few years, MMA remains in limbo in Thailand. As a sport, it has not yet received endorsement from the Sports Authority of Thailand. Most significantly, this means that athletes, gyms, and promoters can not receive the same support or funding as other combat sports such as Boxing, Muay Thai, and Wushu.
Head of the Thai Mixed Martial Arts Federation, Plai Jitinat is working hard within the country to provide a solid foundation and ecosystem for the growth of local amateur talent.
This year alone he hosted multiple amateur events, including the first annual Ignite Warrior Championships. A successful businessman in his own right, Jitinat knows first hand the difficulties athletes face without government support and recognition. But the entrepreneur won’t be deterred,
“We arguably can be viewed as one of the new and underdog nations in the amateur scene, but can still make ourselves ready enough to participate in a world class event.” Jitinat tells Asia MMA.
“Thanks to the support of mainly friends and families in the industry and a few benefactors and sponsors who help make this historic moment to come to reality, we will be ready for Bahrain!”
The TMMAF has selected the following athletes to compete: Rungrot Posri, Prach Buapa, and Phasit Suparot.
Posri is the only one of the three athletes that has competed in an international event before. He was the first and only athlete to represent Thailand at last year’s IMMAF World Championships.
Thai MMA veteran Weerayuth Pinyoporn will be accompanying the athletes as both team manager and head coach.
The 2018 IMMAF World Championships will take place at the Khalifa Sport City Arena in Isa Town, Bahrain 11-18 November.