Thai Boxing and MMA SmokerFight and FitnessSan FranciscoFebruary 18th, 2005The SF Bay Area has a rich tradition in Martial Arts of all kinds, and in the last decade or so has really become well known for both BJJ and Muay Thai programs. Now that MMA is official sanctioned by the state of California, many high level practitioners of either sport are making transitions in how they train and present the sport.
Case in point, where as grappling competitions and Muay Thai smokers have always been around, the latest wave of events include MMA smokers, in which contestants are outfitted in the same gear as professional MMA matches, but are not allowed to strike the head at all. On February 18th Fight and Fitness in San Francisco held an event at their gym that included MMA, Muay Thai and Western Boxing Amateur matches.
Fight and Fitness (www.FightandFitness.com) is co-owned by Chris Cariaso and legendary Thai fighter Bunkerd Faphimai, who has over 350 fights to his credit. The gym contains a full size ring and matted area which on the day of the smoker was packed with fighters, friends and fans. Over 30 fights took place with amateur rules and three round contests. Every fighter showed skill and heart and the crowd was definitely very into each match. In accordance with the spirit of the smoker, no winners or losers were declared and all the fighters showed camaraderie and sportsmanship.
There were two fighters of special significance whom I had specifically come to see in Team Ralph Gracie standout Luke Stewart, who was making an MMA debut of sorts and Marco Stark-Falcone, long time student of Mikyo Riggs; both looking to gain experience in anticipation of a pro debut later this year. Neither disappointed as their matches did not go past the first round against their game opponents, and will definitely be fighters to watch in the future.
The accompanying videos were shot on the ring, and if they seem a bit shaky at time, realize there was literally no room to manuever in the facility. The smoker was a huge success and definitely a memorable afternoon for all, and we’re defintiely looking forward to the next event to be held at Fight and Fitness! (www.FightandFitness.com)