Location: Phuket, Thailand
Year Established: 2003
Founder: William McNamara
Head Coach: George Hickman
Notable Title Wins: UFC Bantamweight Title, UFC Featherweight Title, UFC Women’s Flyweight Title
How was Tiger Muay Thai Established?
Tiger Muay Thai was the idea of William McNamara, who was an American teaching English, while living in Thailand. McNamara practiced Muay Thai and Tiger Muay Thai was actually the 2nd gym he opened in Thailand.
To help his Muay Thai trainer, McNamara bought a small place, where they could put a ring to train. Pretty soon many fighters began coming to train at the gym and it was packed everyday with fighters training
McNamara was then approached by investors to go into business with them and open a large Muay Thai training center . The investors found a huge property near the beach in Phuket that would become Tiger Muay Thai.
William knew that many like himself travel to Thailand to train Thai boxing in the sport’s motherland. Phuket is a paradise and he could attract top fighters around the world and at the same time tourists that trained.
What started as a small school became one of the most attended Thai boxing gyms in the country. Later on with the popularity of MMA, McNamara then added a MMA program to the gym.
In 2013, they gym started holding fight team tryouts that they began documenting on their Youtube channel. Filmmaker Stuart Cooper would also document these grueling fight team tryouts.
McNamara would sell the gym to a Thai businessman in 2015 and the gym would continue to grow. It is one of the biggest gyms in Thailand and is a complete training center that houses both fighters and tourists. It’s one of the premiere gyms in the world that thousands come to train at every year.
George Hickman(Head MMA Coach)
The coach put in charge of running the MMA program and fight team at Tiger Muay Thai is George Hickman. He is a MMA fighter and multiple time state wrestling champion and BJJ black belt under Roan Carneiro.
While training MMA in Georgia, Hickman would train under retired Thai fighter Manu N’toh. Through his trainer, he would make trips to train Thai boxing in Thailand.
He would rack up an MMA record of 9-3 during his career including fighting in Bellator. On top of being the head MMA coach, Hickman is also the head of the wrestling program at Tiger Muay Thai.
Alex Schid(BJJ Coach)
The head BJJ coach at Tiger Muay Thai is Alex Schid. He is a brown belt in BJJ and has fought in both MMA and Muay Thai. Gaining a record of 5-1 in MMA and a record 3-1 in Muay Thai.
Schid has been living in Thailand for the past 6 years and has helped coach numerous top fighters in the world.
Kru Phet(Head Muay Thai Trainer)
Tiger Muay Thai has numerous ex Thai fighters on the staff that helps train fighters and students. The head Muay Thai trainer at the gym is Kru Phet.
During his fighting career, Phet went by the name Buaphet Wor Por Sisaket earning a record of 70-18. He started training when he was 13 years old and would win numerous amateur Thai boxing titles in 70 amateur fights.
As a pro, Phet would have 88 more fights before retiring to pursue his education. Earning degrees in business and English.
Phet is the original Thai boxing trainer at Tiger Muay Thai, who befriended McNamara when the gym was being built. Today, he oversees all of the Muay Thai training at the gym from the pros to the tourists.
Notable MMA fighters
Tiger Muay Thai has numerous fighters that fight in everything from Thai boxing, Lethwei, and MMA. Here are some of the most notable MMA fighters that train at Tiger Muay Thai.
The former UFC Bantamweight champion Peter Yan has been making frequent trips to Tiger Muay Thai for years now. He has worked his way to becoming one of the best bantamweight fighters in the world.
Yan made his UFC debut in 2018 and since then went on quite a streak. Racking up a 8-1 UFC record that includes winning the UFC Bantamweight title.
At only 28 years old, Yan is still improving as a fighter and may likely hold the title again someday.
The current UFC Featherweight Alexander Volkanovski’s home gym is City Kickboxing, but also regularly trains at Tiger Muay Thai. Volkanovski is a former professional rugby player who began training MMA in the off season of rugby to stay fit.
He started gaining a passion for MMA and retired from rugby to pursue a professional fighting career. The South Whales native has been extremely successful with his career change.
Volkanovski has earned a record of 22-1 and has beaten the best featherweight fighters in the world.
The reigning UFC Women’s Flyweight champion makes Tiger Muay Thai one of her main fight camps. Shevchenko has been on one of the most dominant title reigns in UFC history since winning the flyweight title.
She won the championship in 2018 and has defended the title 5 times. All of her title defenses were one sided dominant wins. Valentina will look to continue retaining her title and improving her amazing skills and try to win another title.
The legacy of Tiger Muay Thai
What started out as a student helping out their instructor opening a gym has turned into a globally recognized brand. Tiger Muay Thai has become one of the premiere training centers in the world. Not just for fighters, but for hobbyists that want to get that experience of training in Thailand.
Tiger Muay Thai has an enormous fight team that has fighters in every promotion from the UFC, Bellator and One FC. Including many that have won or fought for the promotion’s championships.
Look for Tiger Muay Thai to continue growing and add more world titles from every combat sport to their gym.