Sunday March 6, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On March 2nd, 2016, the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) published an article on its official website stating that:” The US muaythai open championships have become one of the most talked about martial art events in the United States.” (right image) The USMTO is grateful for IFMA’s formal recognition and the fact that the organization has “acknowledged USMTA’s [sic] success and its effort to promote muaythai to the highest recognition”. Many consider IFMA competitions to be some of the most stringent competitions in the world; winning at IFMA often means that an athlete must defeat several of the best athletes around the world.
The article inferred that USMTO competitors would compete to “represent the United States at the 2016 IFMA World Championships in Jonkoping, Sweden”; however, it caused quite the confusion about the relationship between IFMA and the U.S. Muay Thai Open® because the 2016 USMTO is not a tournament in which competitors will compete for an opportunity to participate in future IFMA events. The article was shared numerous times and it contributed to the spread of misinformation. The 2016 USMTO’s main purpose is to give U.S. athletes greater access to international competitors and to elevate the skill level and stature of American Muay Thai.
Many recall that the inaugural U.S. Muay Thai Open was a qualifying event that determined the makeup of the U.S. team at the 2015 IFMA World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand. In late 2014, Siam Fight Productions, LLC, the founder and creator of the U.S. Muay Thai Open ®, entered into an agreement with Ms. Cheryl Garcia, Mr. Anthony Lin, and their group, the U.S. Muaythai Federation (USMF), in which Ms. Garcia would select USMTO champions to serve on a national team at the 2015 IFMA Championships. Ms. Garcia did exactly that and it resulted in the creation of the most successful IFMA team in recent memory – the team earned two Bronze Medals and one Gold Medal.
Despite the team’s success, and shortly after that very successful inaugural USMTO, Siam severed ties with the USMF over information it learned about the USMF, and over objections in the way the group operated. In addition, Siam was disappointed with the group’s effort to the raise funds to support the team. Fund raising is perhaps the most important function of team organizer. Proper fundraising ensures that travel, lodging, and other costs are borne by the organization and not on hardworking amateur athletes, many of whom must take time away from their places of employment and their families. Ultimately, Siam determined that Ms. Garcia’s and Mr. Lin’s practices were inconsistent with Siam’s values and both parties mutually agreed to terminate the agreement.
IFMA’s recent article and social media post suggested that they were not aware of the details surrounding the decision of Siam to cease it’s agreement with the USMF. Nonetheless, IFMA learned of the error in their article and removed the postings; however, not before causing the confusion about the USMTO’s involvement in IFMA.
Siam believes that elevating the U.S.’ international stature, while raising the awareness of a growing Muay Thai community in the U.S., is a necessary step toward earning Olympic recognition. Siam supported the USMF’s endeavor to form a national team for the same reasons and Siam’s dedication to the team was evident when it’s President, Thiago M Azeredo and Vice President, Brandon M Jones, both traveled to Bangkok, Thailand to witness and support the U.S. team. Siam Fight Productions and the USMTO remain open to possibilities of working with IFMA directly in the future; however, while USMTO fans might be disappointed in the fact the the USMTO had terminated its agreement with the USMF, Siam and the USMTO are currently in talks with another large world federation with the goal to assemble, manage, and support a fully-funded U.S. National Team! Nonetheless, Siam will continue to carryout its mission, which is to create a place where promising U.S. athletes can showcase their skills against athletes from all corners of the globe, to bring awareness to Muay Thai in the U.S., and to establish Muay Thai as a mainstream form of sporting entertainment.
Siam wishes all of the USMTO competitors much success in the 2016 USMTO, which will take place from April 22 -24, 2016 at the Grand Ballroom of the Four Points Phoenix North! The USMTO is open to ALL AMATEUR MUAY THAI ATHLETES WORLDWIDE, and it features custom-designed Thai-Style belts for Novice and Open class Champions, a first-of-its-kind USMTO Mobile App that will alert athletes, coaches, and fans of tournament updates in real time, as well as other unique features. Register today to be apart of something truly special!