Tales from Thailand


Photos and story by: Michael Chase Corley

My name is Michael Chase Corley from Spring, TX. I have been in the combative sport scene in Houston since about 2003. After years of competing all over the world I realized that if I wanted to be at the top of the Muay Thai game, I needed to take my training to the next level. That next level has landed me in Bangplee, Thailand, where I work and train at Fairtex Muay Thai Fitness Bangplee.

Here is my story of my last fight at the Muay Thai Mecca: Lumpinee Stadium

So one day after training at the Fairtex Bangplee Muay Thai camp, one of the trainers asks me if I want to fight in Lumpinee in a couple weeks. To them this is just another fight, but for me, it was the dream fight of my life.

For every art/sport there is the show.
Baseball = MLB
Boxing = MGM Vegas, Caesars’ etc…

tcdFor Muay Thai, that place is Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok. All the greats of Muay Thai have fought there such as Samart Payakaroon, Jongsanan Fairtex, Buakaw Por Pramuk, Saenchai etc…Place holds around 10,000 people and allows for gambling in the stands, it’s a must see destination when visiting Bangkok.

Ok, so back to the story. The trainers tell me I’m fighting another Farang (foreigner) and I need to be at 160.7 lbs or 73 kg. At that time I was weighing 173 lbs, but that didn’t matter, I would fight at any weight to fight at Lumpinee. Let the cut begin.

Most of the big fights in Thailand have same day weigh-ins, something I wasn’t accustomed to. I arrive at Lumpinee at 6:45 in the morning of the fight for 8 am weigh-ins, just to make sure I’m on weight. I step on the test scale and weigh exactly 160.7 lbs. At this time I am pretty worn down and can’t wait to refuel my body at 8 am!

The promoter then walks up to my trainer and tells him that the foreigner that I was supposed to fight has backed out of the fight, but they have a replacement for me. He then tells me that a more experienced Thai will fight in his place, but I need to lose more weight if I want to fight him. Being already worn from the weight cut I said “What the heck, this is Lumpinee.” So I lost an additional 3 lbs and the fight was on.

tcd2Round 1: We begin feeling each other out. He lands some good kicks, and I land some good punches.

Round 2: The feeling out process is over and we begin to start throwing down. He lands some big leg kicks, and I answer with some punching. I then connect with a straight right that scores a flash knockdown, but he is right back up with no count. I then get right back on him, thinking I have him. I let everything go, but he answers back with a big elbow that splits my forehead.

Round 3: He comes out and throws some more heavy leg kicks, I lift to check one and it lands right on a soft spot of my knee cap that I had injured in a fight in December 09. At this point I’m checking only about half of the kicks thrown at me! I then start to close the distance and work my knees and clinch. Just as I begin that game, I eat another elbow on the forehead that opens up cut #2.

tcd1Round 4: Between the rounds the trainers told me the cuts were pretty bad and asked if I wanted to keep going. There was no way I was quitting in Lumpinee. So round 4 starts and we trade off some kicks, his landing the better shots. I then land a hail mary spinning back fists that rocks him, and got the crowd going wild. I try to follow it up with knees to no avail. As the round is coming to an end the Thai lands a few more heavy shots to my lead leg.

Round 5: I’m cut open and definitely down on the cards. So I go out and try throwing some big punches. Nothing lands really clean. I eat a couple more leg kicks, eventually having me change to southpaw. We exchange a couple more times and the fight is over.

I definitely lost the fight, but it was entertaining at least. Of the 8 fights that night my fight was the only one that went the distance.

So I go to see the doctors and they clean up my cuts. They take me back to a room and they tell me they can stitch me up right there. After about 30 minutes and 14 stitches later I’m done. The doctor gives me some medicine and tells me to come back next week for him to have a look.

After the doctors I head over to Accounting area to pick up my purse for the fight. I knew Saturday fighters don’t make as much as Tuesday and Friday night fighters but I was interested to see how much I was going to make.

3,500 baht….That’s awful. That the equivalent of about $100 dollars US. I was hoping for 5,000 or 6,000 but they told me the crowds have been light lately because of the political crisis in Bangkok. But this wasn’t about money. This was about stepping into the ring and stadium that legends have fought in. I gave about half my money to the trainers for helping me out cornering and headed home.

I got home and my friends wanted to go out and celebrate. I wasn’t in the mood too, much so we just went to Foodland for some food. (Thailand’s Denny’s) When we arrived I felt some serious pain in my forehead. I then walked to the bathroom and took off the bandages and I looked at my stitches they had given me at Lumpinee. They were hideous!!! I looked like Frankenstein, they looked like train tracks across my head. No wonder my forehead hurt so much it was tied together with shoe strings.

tcd3I walked out of the bathroom and told the gang I need to go the hospital and get these things redone. I then flag a cab and head over to the hospital. The doctor their asked me about 5 times “Who did this stitching? This is going to leave some bad scars!” I then tell him to take them out and redo them, please. So here I go again on my back getting stitches for the second time in a night. LOL

When it was all said and done I looked 10 times better, and I felt about 10 times better. My purse was totally gone, and actually had to come out of the pocket to fix up the mad Lumpinee doctors stitch work. My knee was blown and my leg looked Urijah Faber esq…j/k not that bad. But all in all, I wouldn’t take it back for anything.

I moved out here to get more experience. There’s fights everyday of the week here, that’s what is so great. You can fight, rest, heal, and then go fight again as much as you want to. But its back to the small shows for me, I need to improve a lot of areas of my game before heading back to the big stadium. Thai people grew up with this sport and I have a lot of catching up to do….and healing after Saturday night.

Khawp khun khrap!