MMA officially recognized in Thailand with development of MMA association

world mma association thailand

In a massive move for the ever-growing sport of mixed martial arts — particularly in Asia, the sport has officially been recognized in Thailand — with a fully certified and approved MMA Association also established under the Department of Provincial Administration.

Thailand, home to a rich and deep history of combat sports, has produced some of the biggest talents in the striking arts to ever compete on a global scale — and in recent years, has become a home to a vast array of the most recognizable figures in mixed martial arts, through its extensive facilities and gyms littered across the Southeast Asian region.

MMA officially recognized as a sport in Thailand

From the likes of Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket — which has hosted the likes of UFC stars, the trio of former championship holders, Alexander Volkanovski, Petr Yan, and former flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko — to Bangtao Muay Thai and mixed martial arts, which hosts strawweight best, Zhang Weili, and on occasion, ex-light heavyweight kingpin, Jiri Prochazka.

Developing a vast talent of fighters in the region who have gone on to achieve worldwide success in mixed martial arts and acclaim, the recognization of mixed martial arts as an official sport in Thailand — as well as the establishment of a fully certified mixed martial arts Association comes as a further feather in the cap for the historical combat sports history of the land.

MMA Thailand

Nick Chapman, who confirmed the establishment in a historic day for the sport in the region, and spoke of his delight to be appointed as advisory chairman for the association — following a “dedicated effort” to see the recognition of mixed martial arts as a sport in the country.

READ MORE:  Photo - UFC fans destroy former champion Cody Garbrandt over new face tattoo: 'Did he lose a bet'

“After months of dedicated effort and collaboration with an incredible team of people, we have successfully achieved official recognition for Mixed Martial Arts as a sport in Thailand,” Advisory Chairman, and Head of International Relations, Nick Chapman said. “We have also established a new, fully certified and approved Mixed Martial Arts Association of Thailand under the Department of Provincial Administration.

“This is a significant milestone for combat sports in Thailand,” Chapman continued. “Our association, with the support of some very influential figures, aims to elevate the sport of mixed martial arts within the country to a world-class level.”

“I am deeply honored to have been appointed as the Advisory Chairman and Head of International Relations for the newly established Mixed Martial Arts Association of Thailand. Being entrusted with such a crucial role in developing the sport that I love at this level in a country that I hold so dear, is an immense privilege for me.  Over the next few years you will see the sport of Mixed Martial Arts really start to take off. Our plans for the future of the sport are huge,” Chapman concluded.

MMA Association formed in Thailand

MMA Association of Thailand 

  • Mr. Vathanai Vathanakul President 
  • Mr. Prathan Worramanin, Vice President and Secretary General
  • Mrs.Ummarapas Vathanakul  Communication Committee and Accountant 
READ MORE:  "There is war on the line" Modestas Bukauskas Talks UFC 304 late night fight

Other committee members:

  • Mr. Oroschutiman Sangthong
  • Mrs. Aemon Chapman 
  • Mr. Thanatas
  • Mr. Krittapas Chutiman
  • Mr. Suchet
  • Miss Natchanan Warmanin
  • Mr. Worathit Warmanin
  • Mr. Chin Wong Saeng
  • Miss Anyarat Pancharoen
  • Mrs. Amraphat Wattanakul

Speaking with John Hyon Ko for The AllStar publication in the aftermath of the formation of the Mixed Martial Arts Association of Thailand, Chapman detailed the journey that took place to see the sport’s recognition in the region — praising the country’s “progressive stance” — before laying out plans to bring a host of high-level coaches from a host of different disciplines to help develop the sport in the country.

“Mixed Martial Arts has been frowned upon in Thailand for a long time,” Chapman said. “There was even a point when the Sports Authority banned the use of a cage,  Mixed Martial Arts cages were not allowed, but what I love about Thailand is their progressive stance on things, they are open to taking new things onboard.  Mixed Martial Arts is going to explode in Thailand, we are in the process of setting up a Mixed Martial Arts association in Thailand.”

READ MORE:  Curtis Blaydes: 'I don’t think I have a glass jaw. I just think it’s heavyweight' responds to critics

“I’ve been enlisted with heading the development team and what we are going to do is regulate Mixed Martial Arts in Thailand, we are going to bring in grassroots organizations from around the world, we are going to be running regular events, in a cage, in Sports Authority approved stadium. Mixed Martial Arts is going to become a massive part of the combat sports industry here.”

“IMMAF is a huge organization globally for mixed martial arts.  We are going to work under their framework so everything is done as it should be.  I’m going to make sure all the regulations are in place, everything is conducted professionally, fighters’ safety. I’ll be taking care of all of that.”


“A 5-10 year plan is to bring over the high-level wrestling coaches, the high level of jiu-jitsu coaches, the high level of MMA coaches and develop Thai nationals to either be ONE Championship’s level or UFC level. That’s my dream.”