Scott Kent, Giving Muay Thai the American Touch

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It is no secret that the popularity of combat sports continue to rise. The foundation of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), the UFC, while nearly destroying the sport of boxing has sparked interest in other forms of martial arts that have been neglected in the United States. One of those sports being Muay Thai.

Scott Kent, the CEO and President of the American based Lion Fight promotion out of Las Vegas, NV, has been able to bring this sport that finds the balance between brutality and spirituality to the masses. For Kent there is no better day than July 4th to showcase some of America’s best strikers at Lion Fight 16 from The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort.

In just three Lion Fight 16years Kent, a former casino executive, has been able to take his passion for a sport that never truly made headway in the United States and forged a partnership with Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC.

“There are so many MMA products out there and what really struck Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta) is that Lion Fight is a totally different sport. It is not competition for them in any form. Their fighters train in Muay Thai and gives your casual fight fans, you know, the ones who boo when they go to the ground and then cheer when the fighters stand up, something to get excited over,” said Kent.

This partnership will have Lion Fight featured during UFC Fight Week July 1-5, 2014. Both the main event and co-main event will feature America’s greatest Muay Thai fighters. Kevin Ross fighting Aussie Michael Thompson. Ross has always had a great international following while the best pound-for-pound female striker, Tiffany Van Soest will be taking on Italy’s Sindy Huyer is the co-main event.

“This is going to be a war. We wanted to give our American stars the biggest stage in Muay Thai. Most people we talk to outside of the US say you haven’t made it until you make it in the US and where better than the fight capital of the world?” said Kent, who trained in Muay Thai and Kickboxing for 20 years throughout Thailand and Europe.

For those that say Muay Thai is limited in comparison to MMA, those people obviously missed Lion Fight 14, when Christine “Cyborg” Justino, the baddest women in MMA lost to 24-year-old, Dutch striker Jorina Baars by unanimous decision.

Dana White, Christine Toledo & Scott Kent

Dana White, Christine Toledo & Scott Kent

What makes Muay Thai stand out from other styles of combat sports are their competitors. Most people only see the martial aspect of what happens in the ring, very few pay attention to the art, which includes the spiritual aspect shared by the fighters in Lion Fight. For example, during one of their earlier events that took place at Primm, NV, Cosmo Alexandre was destroying an opponent, but didn’t go for the knock out. When asked why, he said it wasn’t worth hurting the guy for an extra $1,000.

“Martial Arts is a great metaphor that has cultural and spiritual aspects to it. Maybe they didn’t get it in other combat sports. You see our fighters beat each others brains out then having drinks an hour later. There is something to be said about that respect,” said Kent.

Lion Fight 16 will be an extravaganza of Americana, not only will it be in Las Vegas, but the event will start an hour earlier than normal (6 p.m. Pacific) allowing the fans who leave the arena time to hit the strip and see the fireworks.

“I’m bless to be 53 years old and in the position I’m in. We’ve got a lot ahead of us and the Lion Fight fighters. It’s the American dream where we started with nothing out there in Primm, and then brought in female fighters, to where we got on AXS TV,” said Kent who will be ringside from the opening bell.

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