Chang Mai Muay Thai

We take Giggly Beam’s directions down a side street lined with massage spas to a spot just a couple blocks away. Yep this is the place, there are already scantily clad ladies with Muay Thai flyers all vying for our attention. We cross the street right to them, “You go see fight tonight?”, “Yes, ma’am!” There are three of them jostling for position, must be a commission thing, “How much?” There are 2 prices, one for regular seats and the other for ringside which is only about 5 bucks more. No brainer there, we nab the baller seats up front. The girl is ecstatic and takes us directly back to the ring.

To get to the ring we have to pass through a gauntlet of hooker bars and all the girls are waving from both sides trying to entice us to come in. Hooker row opens up into the main ring area with seats all around it. Of course there are some drunk white dudes pretend fighting in the ring already because it’s no rules Asia and you can just do whatever you want. They’re slinging each other into the ropes and body slamming each other into the mats while their girlfriends GoPro the whole shabang.

Flyer Girl takes us to our seats and they are indeed pretty baller. We’re in the second row just off of the judges table and directly in front of the action. Five bucks well spent! The show doesn’t start for an hour so we flip up our seat cushions to signify they are taken and head back out to grab a drink somewhere.

Back in hooker row some girls in sailor outfits run out of one of the bars and grab MacKay by both arms, “Ahhh guys, I think I’m getting sucked in!” So be it, we go grab some drinks with Sailor Moon and her  Sailor Scouts. This reminds me that I met the voice actor behind Tuxedo Mask one time at Yukomicon, but that’s a story for another time. We get some black and cokes and I play pool with one of the girls who has a cool sort of mohawk. She’s phenomenal. At pool. And I get my ass handed to me.

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After a few rounds of drinks and an epic air guitar session to Painkiller on some pool cues with some guy named Sigh, we decide it’s time to head back ringside. The place has filled in now and the Muay Thai is ready to start. We get some ring beers and settle in.

“Man, we should bet on some fights!” I can see some embers glowing in MacKay’s eyes. I think I also see the intro to Rambo III playing there behind his pupils. Suddenly a dude hits him on the shoulder from behind, “Totally! We were just saying that!” It’s one of the dudes who was pretend fighting in the ring from earlier. “Yeah man, how do you want to do this?”, “Let’s throw 200 baht down on a fighter each round. You can pick for first round.” Everyone’s pretty pumped now. I think it’s scientifically proven that betting on sports makes them infinitely more entertaining.

Pretend Fighter Dude is named Jonathan (should be easy to remember) and he’s from South Carolina. He’s revved up and ready to go. Hilarious guy, he just kept the one liners coming the whole time and we were cracking up nonstop. Good ol American boy, at one point he actually said “Oh I’m a big time redneck. Budweiser and Guns, that’s what I enjoy!”

Joining BudGuns was his wife Khaki, Lou from Toronto and his gf Ashley.

A girl jumps into the ring full of spunk and donning ze red trunks. She’s got a long braided pony tail and is catering to the crowd getting everyone right into it. “I’m betting on her!” yells MacKay, “Shit!”. Red Trunks gets down on on knee and kicks her leg back. She goes into some sort of tribal dance thing spinning her gloves around and swaying forward and back. Looks like some kind of ritual. She goes to each of the posts and prays to it, stopping to bow to the crowd between each one. Damn, this is an extensive pre-fight ritual.

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While Red Trunks is doing this her competitor enters the ring in ze black shorts. She forgoes any sort of dancing, just heads straight to her corner. BudGuns is not impressed, “Is that a guy? She doesn’t even care. I’m so fucked.”

And it’s on. The girls approach each other in the ring and touch gloves. It’s a slow start as they size each other up. Mostly mid kicks, not many punches. Oh wait.. Black Trunks is hitting pretty hard. Oh shit. Reds on the ropes. She’s all hugs now and trying to bash Black’s sides in with her knee. It’s not looking good for MacKay’s bet here actually.

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In between rounds BudGuns is all over MacKay, “You’re girl is going down, bro. No Chance!” Unfortunately this seems to be true.

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The girls come back out and Red is tuckered. Black is all over her and is clearly the better fighter. “Put em in a body bag!” The fight goes the full 5 rounds though and comes to decision. Red accepts defeat graciously, as does MacKay.

Next up is a couple skinny-fit dudes also in black and red trunks. They both go into a similar ritual as the girl in the red trunks from last fight. Interesting. I guess that’s a thing. BudGuns puts another mini wad down, this time on the red shorts, “Go Big Red! I’m taking aaaaaaalllllll this Canadian’s money!”

This fight also goes to the full five rounds and judges decision. In between each one Red Shorts has a little entourage with him watering him down in his corner and one water boy is in a green frog hoodie. Frog Boy jumps up and power hugs Red Shorts each round and it seems like he levels up each time. Oblivious he’s the better fighter. Nothing too spectacular happens though, but MacKay  is down another couple hundred baht.

Feeling the sting we decide to up our game. Drisdelle nabs a passing server and we go in on bottle service. Bottle of whiskey, cokes and redbulls. This equates to just over 15 bucks. We throw some money down against BudGuns for the next fight. Come on Blue Shorts! we’re getting right into it now. “Come on Aladdin!”, “Sweep the leg, Johnnie!”

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Whooooa.. and Red Shorts gets owned. Totally owned. During round two Aladdin straight up drop kicks Red in the face. He reels backwards and nearly collapses. Back on his feet he finishes the round but this is basically over. He’s got a massive cut open above his eye. They wipe it up between rounds but it is streaming down his face.

The bell rings and they’re back to the middle. Touch gloves, back up, and Aladdin wastes no time. Nasty round house right to the same spot by the eye and Red hits the mats like an anvil. Destroyed. The fight is called instantly. Aladdin approaches the judges and grabs a 500 baht bill from them with his mouth. I guess there’s tips for knock outs? (And ring side bottle service is slightly more expensive than a knockout haha.)

“Pink gloves, bro! What did you expect!?” – BudGuns

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Next up in the ring is three dudes in… blindfolds? Haha what the hell? They all go to the middle of the ring, disoriented as can be. They roam around blindly searching for each other. When they bump into each other they start wailing haphazardly, arms flailing looking for a target. Man, this is hilarious. One dude is mistakenly chasing down the ref who has to get up on the ropes to avoid him, then just ends up kicking him over.

The sound causes the other two to run over and they both trip over him making a three man pile up in the center of the ring. The ref helps them up and the guy in the white trunks goes into this brilliant spin move with both arms stretched straight out. He starts human helicoptering around the ring, spinning furiously. The other two walk their startled faces smack dab into it and get knocked right back to the ground. White Trunks trips over them again and we’re back to a three man pile up.

Some re-ups from bottle service and this is ridiculously funny to watch.

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In the next round a white dude comes out. There’s no ritual this time. All business and they get right into it. Geesh, this white boy is deadly. Maybe this is the main event? It’s over pretty quick with a powerful side kick to the poor thigh of the Thai opponent. It bruises instantly and bunches up in this ugly clump and he goes to the ground. Agggh! That looks terrible. I don’t think he can walk. He gets helped out of the ring and white boy collects his ‘knockout’ tip from the judges.

Up next is another white boy. This time the opening ritual is in full effect and this guy is going way over the top with some sort of flying bird mimicry. I don’t know, it seems forced and unauthentic coming from this guy and we’re all in agreement that he needs to get his ass kicked, hard.

This is precisely what happens. The Thai guy he’s up against is cocky and confident as hell.  And it’s well deserved, he just out boxes Birdman big time. Counters most everything (with a smile) and comes back with devastating thigh or midsection kicks. Sometimes up top with jabs and haymakers. Good on Birdman for lasting the rounds and not getting Ko’d, but there’s no contest here and the judges have an easy decision after the five rounds.

Things wind down with a medium-eventful fight between two girls during which everyone pretty much starts to exit the arena.

With our whiskey bottle nuked and our Rambo III dream slightly fulfilled, hitting the town wins by unanimous decision. Stupid seats… dar, out of the way. Sailor Moon is there to greet us in the Hooker Bar Gauntlet but we want to get out into the streets. Stumble-dodge the groping masses and careen out onto the sidewalk. Things are slanty… whaaaa we are fuckinated.

We bust it down a side street and find a row of bars. Dip into one and order up a round. Things are getting mighty hazy at this point. The night strays away from us into the nondescript… somethingness. We meet some folks with some names from some places. We tell some stories. We laugh some laughs. And in some amount of time we’re out into some streets again with the bardar blaring.

On some bearing back to our hostel (hopefully) we pass by someplace with a garage door half closed. Hmmmmmm we’re on the case, somewhat? Let’s just take a looksie here. Seems to be some sort of bar. “You guys open?”, “Yes, yes come in”. We duck the door and saddle up at the bar. Round of some drinks and meet some more people with some faces and some hair from somewhere around here. Everyone has legs and arms..

Somewhere in the somethingness a sound is pickling. It sounds like…
(And a giant winged stethoscope collects us in it’s barnacles and whisks us off through the Someverse. We get back just in time for bed.)

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