Update Jan. 16: MBK Fight Night returns 6pm on Wednesday with five matches including a headlining bout featuring female fighters.
BANGKOK — The Bangkok institution that is MBK Fight Night has returned for a seventh season of Muay Thai action after more than a year’s layoff.
The popular fights, which take place in a roadside ring in public view at the downtown mall, returned in force Dec. 1 with action-packed match-ups from beginning to end in front of a packed crowd.
“We knew that it would be a while for its return as MBK were building the connecting roof that now covers the ring,” organizer Arran Sirisompan said of the prolonged downtime.
Anyone who has been to MBK Center in the past year and a half would know the construction area Arran is referring to. And while it’s now awesome the fights will be safe from rain – and run year-round, Arran says – the downside is that some of the best viewing points from the skywalk have lost line of sight.
Another reason for the long delay was a change in mall management.
“The team at MBK that helped organize the fight night left and was replaced with a new team that seemed hesitant about having the fights,” Arran said.
That made this return more of an audition for Arran and partner Adam Marin. That being the case, I can’t imagine it having gone any better. The fights were fantastic and the crowd was packed and full of energy.
There were some format changes this season that add to the events marketability. Firstly they have brought on social media fitness icon Mark Abbott of the Caption Mark Podcast and Thai Top Fitness fame to MC the event in his unique style that allows him to flow between English and Thai. Local fight fans might know Mark as having previously MC’d FMD in Thai.
The other massive change to the fight night was the overall format, fights are now three rounds instead of five rounds. When I spoke with the promoters about this Arran said “This will be the first season we will be live streaming the fights on YouTube so it helps keep the action fast paced. Muay Thai fans will know that by the 5th round fighters have decided who the winner is and the action dies. With 3 rounds it’s a sprint to the finish rather than a marathon and that makes for a more exciting fight for the viewer.” I couldn’t agree more, all but one of the six fights went the distance and each of them was action packed from start to finish.
The shorter fights also means the event ends while MBK is still open so once it’s done you can head inside for dinner or any last minute shopping you might need to do.
This season will also be structured a bit differently, in the past MBK fight night was held on a weekly basis. If this seventh season gets the greenlight from MBK it will move forward on a monthly basis, but instead of being packed into the a few months between the rainy season it will span the whole year. That new format offers some new possibilities to the promoters, Arran said “Now we will hopefully host an event once a month which gives us more time to plan, and allows a bigger budget to feature bouts where more well known fighters can apply their trade.”
From what I saw at the opener of the seventh season of MBK fight night it’s off to a great start and was a real crowd pleaser. With the new format and the vision of Arran and Adam coming into it’s own this is going to be a must see event in my opinion. But check out the video and see for yourself.
The schedule for this season of MBK Fight Night has yet to be set. Stay up-to-date via MBK Fight Night on Facebook.