We are super proud to update you all on how our newest location Absolute MMA Thailand is progressing and share the beginning of our journey in Thailand!
Our mission over the last couple of weeks has been to take an old, pre-loved Muay Thai gym on the beautiful island that is Phuket, and turn it into a world class MMA facility featuring authentic Thai-style Muay Thai training. It has not been easy, but it has been an experience! The old adage applies- “Nothing worth having is ever easy.”
One of the most defining characteristics of Absolute MMA Thailand is the enormous lion’s head set on top of the building, which surprisingly is not visible from the main road at all. There really is no understating just how enormous this lion’s head is…trust us, we ain’t lion-ing! We’re incredibly lucky to have such a big, beautiful Thai-style open air facility with 4 raised rings and a row of bags hanging along both sides. Boasting 10 en-suite bungalows of on-site accommodation (car access available), Absolute MMA Thailand is the perfect place for your training camp!
We have a great location in Rawai that is based right on the doorstep of Phuket’s famous Nai Harn Beach and all the beautiful sunset lookouts that go with it are less than a 10 minute scooter ride away. If you feel like mixing it up, you can head 10 minutes in the other direction and visit the Siam, Katathani, Kata and Karon beaches on the west coast.
Located towards the southern end of Phuket, Rawai is not too crowded even in the high tourist season, and the perfect spot for avoiding hustle and bustle. The most popular restaurants might be busy for an hour or so each day, but there are plenty of gems off the beaten track. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by a wonderful community, who are never without a smile, and never forget a face (as well as your favourite food order!).
Rawai has everything you’d expect from an island getaway and is super easy to navigate. Before long, you’ll have your favourite Thai food places, and will know all the air conditioned coffee spots. Roadside fried chicken carts also consistently appear out of nowhere with impeccable timing and 7-Eleven and Family Marts sell long-necks for less than $2, if you’re after a casual beverage! For those who are looking to indulge, there are a handful of good bars, a night market that runs regularly and one nightclub that opens at 5pm called Laguna. Other nearby businesses include:
- Recovery spas with saunas and floatation tanks
- Massage parlours
- Hairdressing salons
- Hardware store
If you are looking to explore further up the island of Phuket there is the infamous Bangla Road, the majestic Big Buddha, the enormous Weekend Night Markets, and beautiful secluded tropical islands for you to explore.
Thankfully the hard work of selecting our core group of Thai trainers is complete, and we could not be happier with our team! Not only are our trainers extremely experienced and accomplished retired fighters, they are also well connected to the stadiums in Phuket with one of them being a part-time promoter, and another being a high level referee. This gives our fighters the best chance at appearing in fairly-scored, and well-matched fights in the biggest stadiums on the island.
Joe Boobyer of Absolute MMA deserves a very special mention here. Joe spent almost 6 years living and fighting in Phuket and well known in the local community. Without his in-depth knowledge of the culture and the trust that the locals have in him, assembling our team of friendly, connected and skilled trainers would not have been possible. He spent a week on his bike riding around to all of his old trainers and managers houses, asking who was working where, and who was in need of a job. We have been incredibly lucky to have such a diplomatic envoy with local knowledge who could ensure no feathers were ruffled. Not an easy thing to do when many of the locals have been fighting and working as trainers for various gyms in the area for over ten years. Many of his conversations were had over food, beer and even some after riding past a familiar face in the street, and conducted with good intentions and integrity. Thank you Joe!
There is still a lot to do at the gym and we have been busy getting the bungalows ready so people can come and stay on site and be able to prepare for fights (or the beach) in Thailand. Currently, we have construction workers here removing one of the rings to make room for a huge Brazilian jiu-jitsu/wrestling matted area, and soon there will be an octagon and a weights room added too. Work is in progress and the whole team is excited to be able to modernize Lion Muay Thai while paying respect to the past, under the new name of Absolute MMA Thailand. We have aimed to retain the spirit of Lion Muay Thai, with two out of three of our Thai trainers having worked here when Lion was first built. It has been known to be one of the most popular gyms on the island, and we want to make sure we carry on that legacy!
We look forward to providing you all with yet another world class facility in yet another beautiful location. We’ll be sure to keep you up to date with all the changes going on around here.
Stay tuned for another installation of the Absolute MMA Thailand story!