ONE Championship is being sued by the Boxing Association of Thailand.
ONE has separated itself from other combat sports promotions by hosting events with various martial arts disciplines, including MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling. Although the Asia-based promotion supports the growth of all disciplines, the Boxing Association of Thailand believes they are ruining the culture of Muay Thai.
Channel 44 Chef Boontham broke the news of the lawsuit on Facebook by releasing a statement from “Sergeant Tuo” Songpol Pongsawang:
“This matter, I confirm again, is to protect the art of Muay Thai, which is a national treasure of Thailand, of Thai people, that we are Thai people. We must preserve it for our children… Upon inspection, it was found that Boxing ONE does not follow standard rules and regulations for Boxing Competition (No. 2) 2013, Region 4 …”
The statement continued by further explaining:
“I’ll give you an example to see if in this regulation: Muay Thai fighters must pay homage to teachers, wear auspicious clothes, and dress up to be neat like Muay Thai that fight each other today. But ONE doesn’t follow the rules.”
It’s unclear if the lawsuit against ONE will lead to anything, but there is clearly friction between them and Thai officials. These legal issues surfaced a few days after the Asia-based promotion kicked off its new partnerships with the legendary Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
#ฟ้องONEผิดระเบียบ!!! “จ่าตุ๊” ทรงพล พงษ์สว่าง เข้าพบยื่นหนังสือ ผอ.สำนักงานกีฬามวย พลัฏฐ์…
Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu attempts to simplify the lawsuit against ONE Championship
Although Channel 44 Chef Boontham released the statement trying to explain the situation, it’s still somewhat unclear what ONE is being sued for. Photographer Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu took to Facebook and attempted to explain the situation further. He had this to say:
“Basically, this is a push back on the appropriation of the cultural heritage of the sport, and the Thai government’s inability to regulate it. Over the last near decade the regulation of Muay Thai proper was circumvented under the auspices of ‘Entertainment Muay Thai.’ These shows were considered not ‘sport’ per se, but rather only entertainment, grouped together with non-sport shows.”
In conclusion, ONE is being sued for allegedly holding Muay Thai bouts that go against the culture created decades ago. If the lawsuit materializes, ONE could potentially be banned from hosting Muay Thai fights, which is a decent portion of their events. Only time will tell if the Asia-based promotion will face repercussions.