Sport is one of the oldest spectacles known to mankind. It involves physical activity that can be enacted competitively, or purely for the fun of it. Sport activities can be physical as in contact sports like wrestling, boxing and martial arts, or mental as in games of strategy such as chess and billiards. Sports are usually governed either by an established set of rules or traditions, that help to ensure a fair contest, and ensure consistent adjudication of the outcome.
In more serious organized sports, results of matches are regularly documented, and the information can be widely advertised or reported in sport related media. Many professional sports bodies have developed governing codes that are mutually agreed upon by all stakeholders. Such codes help to improve competitiveness, maintain interest in the sport and create a framework for judging performance.
The most famous sport in Southeast Asia is the Thai boxing. Known as Muay Thai, the sport is largely contested in the country’s cities and towns, especially in Bangkok. Unlike most other sports governed by traditional principles, Muay Thai has developed into a professional business, with multiple promoters and governing bodies competing for business. Promoters form gatekeepers to keep out non-serious competitors, while the various governing bodies maintain strict rules that restrict unprofessional fights, control purse strings and ensure public safety.
There is a new champion in town. Called “The Crusher,” Thailand’s National Stadium has been nicknamed after the legendary mixed martial artist,” Crusher” Arterial Foreman. Foreman has taken over the title from fellow American, Scott Norton, who is now the premier MMA fighter in the world. With a 9-4 record, both in MMA and “WEC” Amateur Sports Association, the 30-year-old Australian has defeated some of the best fighters from overseas. Though not a true Thai, his winning spree has created a stir in the country, especially among the Thai public, who are demanding a shot at the championship.
The real story behind the surprising win by Foreman is less than glamorous. A native of Brisbane, Australia, Foreman has trained in Thailand under the tutelage of renowned Muay Thai trainer and author Tong Po. In spite of his background, he insists on practicing what he learned. With this relentless determination, a hard work ethic, and passion for the sport, the “Crusher” has defeated the cream in the amateur ranks.
Foreman isn’t the first Aussie to beat opponents out of Thailand, however. Australian fighting commentator and martial artist Michael Bisping defeated local Thai sensation Sang Hyu Ko (also known as Won Karate) in April 2009. Bisping’s win made him the first fighter to win two out of three bouts in the country. The only person to accomplish this feat was legendary trainer and friend, Yodlee Santo. The “Crusher” has become just one notch higher after beating the best.