One persisting problem in Thailand’s Muaythai scene is fighters often refusing to fight in the final round. Though intriguing for international sport fans, there are some reasons behind it:
1. Thai judges have a strange way in deciding a winner – when it’s anyone’s match, the fighter who fights forward is often judged as a less dominant fighter because it looks as if he’s trying to keep up with his opponent’s scores. Therefore, it’s not unusual to see both the fans and the cornermen yelling at their fighters to stop fighting forward because of that.
2. Not all fighters are superstars – they don’t have huge amounts of purses, so they have to rely on special prizes called “encouragement money” rewarded after winning by their headmen and gamblers who bet on them. If they do the opposite to reason number 1 and lose, they will get heavily bashed by insults and lose the special prizes. Hence, they have to play safe and stop finding themselves more chances of losing by weird decisions.
Pros and Cons of not fighting in round 5
-Only one pro: it’s a show of good sportsmanship
When you already crush your opponent in the first 4 rounds, there’s no need to cut his time out of his career by further beating him up. And in case you’re already beaten, you’ll have less injury if your opponent refuses to harm you in the final round. This will in turn enable you to recover from the lost fight faster into training for the next one since you have to make a living through fighting.
-Makes Muaythai unappealing, boring to non-Muaythai fans
-Indirectly supports gambling that have been destroying the excitements of Muaythai striking
-Deters young people from getting into Muaythai because it looks boring and lack of charm
-Lessens Muaythai’s global popularity (of course, because it looks boring)
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