DARE 1/11 – Thailand’s First Mixed Martial Arts Championship: As It Happened


DARE MMA, Club Insomnia, Bangkok, Thailand - 25 June 2011
DARE MMA, Club Insomnia, Bangkok, Thailand - 25 June 2011
DARE MMA, Club Insomnia, Bangkok, Thailand - 25 June 2011
DARE MMA, Club Insomnia, Bangkok, Thailand - 25 June 2011
DARE MMA, Club Insomnia, Bangkok, Thailand - 25 June 2011
DARE MMA, Club Insomnia, Bangkok, Thailand - 25 June 2011
DARE MMA, Club Insomnia, Bangkok, Thailand - 25 June 2011
DARE MMA, Club Insomnia, Bangkok, Thailand - 25 June 2011
DARE MMA, Club Insomnia, Bangkok, Thailand - 25 June 2011
DARE MMA, Club Insomnia, Bangkok, Thailand - 25 June 2011
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DARE MMA, Club Insomnia, Bangkok, Thailand - 25 June 2011
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By Matt Wilson

Walking into Club Insomnia on Sukhumvit Soi 12 (on Saturday 25 June 2011) for the first DARE mixed martial arts tournament, I couldn’t help but think I might be walking into some sort of underground illegal fight club. Yet instead of seeing seedy businessmen betting over fights in a dingy basement (as seen in many Hollywood movies), I was treated to one of the most upmarket venues I’ve frequented in Thailand. The 1500 baht ticket was testament to DARE being an exclusive affair, but value for money was left in the ring. New York and Las Vegas were two cities that came to mind, yet Bangkok seemed more than apt, regarding its Muay Thai boxing heritage and that it has often been dubbed “the fight capital of South East Asia”.

More speakers and lighting than a rock concert, made the event loud and energetic and in your face. To be honest, the idea of watching fights had never really appealed to me, but the production was immense, exciting and entertaining; a show like no other.

Fights were three rounds of five minutes and within the rules set by the “Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts”. According to Jussi Saloranta, organizer of the event, the rules are “designed to protect the fighters. Basically, all techniques that seriously injure an opponent are prohibited. For example, techniques like hitting the back of an opponent’s head or his spine are not allowed. Kicking the head of an opponent who is on the ground or trying to attack the groin, eyes, and fingers of an opponent are also strictly against the rules”.

It was clear DARE made safety its highest priority. Whereas in other promotions fighters are allowed to continue with some injuries, the slightest hint of a fighter not being able to defend himself brought a fight to an abrupt halt. In one instance it appeared that although the ring doctor had given one fighter the OK to continue, the referee stopped the bout. Impressive and admirable – there was a lot of respect shown this evening.

Fighters who won fights advanced to the next stage of DARE, which is one of the first of its kind for Thailand. From what I observed usually the fighter who was well versed in many martial art styles came up as the victor. This seemed to be most evident in the fight against Black Diamond, from South Africa and Ngoo Ditty from Thailand who used various techniques to pin his opponent to the ground and pound him in the face. The South African showed great determination nevertheless and even though he was clearly outmatched his courage showed through as he managed to last 3 rounds whilst some fighters only lasted a few minutes, even seconds!

The announcer for the evening kept saying “this is the best sport in the world” and it was an absolute spectacle to watch. The last few fights were epic and some of the fighters showed such determination that within minutes paramedics were called into the cage to attend to wounds and check for injuries. Throughout the event, fighters showed each other the upmost respect and sportsmanship. Victors often prostrated themselves at the feet of their beaten opponents as a sign of respect.

For a comprehensive review of all the fights and information on the next DARE event check out the official post fight press release

For more background information on DARE events read the KhaoSanRoad.com interview with Jussi Saloranta, one of the organizers of DARE.

KhaoSanRoad.com will provide updates of when the next DARE events take place and how you can attend them. They are thoroughly recommended!

Matt Wilson is a South African journalist living and working in Bangkok, Thailand. While he’s in the Kingdom, he’s sharing his insights and experiences with KhaoSanRoad.com. He is available for all types of writing and journalism projects and can be contacted by email here.

Kep, Cambodia

Kep, Cambodia
Kep, Cambodia

Often overlooked by visitors to southern Cambodia, the sleepy town of Kep is a great place to spend a little time. The town is surrounded by the intense natural beauty of dense jungle, rolling hills and stretches of golden sand, and nature lovers are sure to be in their element here.
Known as the ‘Riviera of Asia’ when it was established at the turn of the 20th century by French colonists, Kep served as a vibrant beach destination for several decades, before the Khmer Rouge arrived in the area and turned things on their head. However, Kep is slowly and surely being restored, and this is the perfect time to visit the area.

Those who can bear to tear themselves away from the beach for an hour or two will want to take in the stunning views from the summit of Kep Hill. To get there, visitors simply need to wander along a gently looping trail through the jungle, perhaps pausing to gaze at wildlife such as playful monkeys along the way.

The pretty tropical Rabbit Island is situated five kilometres off the coast of Kep, and can be reached by hiring a boat. Those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life can spend the night in a tiny wooden hut on the island before returning to Kep the next day.

Water sports such as snorkelling and scuba diving are popular activities among those who visit Kep, and a large number of companies offer to rent out equipment, while those who like messing about on the water should rent a speedboat or a catamaran from the Sailing Club.  

Kep is a great place to eat, with fresh seafood being top of the menu. Fresh crab is particularly popular here and Kep to offer to tastiest crab in Cambodia. There are a good number of restaurants and bars here, most offering a variety of international dishes as well as traditional Khmer cuisine. Grab and good meal and a drink or two and watch as the sun slowly slips behind the horizon. Pure perfection.

Khao San Road Bars and Clubs


Khai San Road Pubs and Clubs, Bangkok, Thailand
Khai San Road Pubs and Clubs, Bangkok, Thailand
Khai San Road Pubs and Clubs, Bangkok, Thailand
Khai San Road Pubs and Clubs, Bangkok, Thailand

After the sun sets Khao San Road is transformed into a neon wonderland as people flock from all over the city to sip cocktails on the street, listen to live music or shake a tail feature in one of the area’s trendy clubs.

Whether you simply want to enjoy a cold beer or two or are looking for a hedonistic clubbing experience, Khao San Road has a good selection of nightlife, which attracts tourists, travellers and Thai people from all walks of life.

Khao San Road is a great place for drinking and socializing as prices are generally much lower than in other parts of the city and those on a tight budget will be able to enjoy a drink or two at the end of a hard day of sightseeing. Many of the bars here also show movies and live sporting events free of charge to customers.

Most of the bars on Khao San Road and the surrounding area open mid morning and stay open until the early hours. Some places also have licenses to stay open 24 hours a day, meaning that there is always somewhere to grab a drink and make friends here.

There are a good number of street side bars in this area, which serve cheap beer and strong cocktails. Sitting at the tables here is a good way to meet people and watch events as they unfold on Khao San Road.

Those who enjoy live music will find plenty of venues to choose from. The bands in this area play both covers of popular Western and Thai tunes as well as their own songs. These bars attract a good mixture of Thai and Western customers and the atmosphere is usually very lively, with plenty of room to dance.

Those who like to boogie will be able to take their pick from dozens of different clubs. Most of these venues get going at around 11pm and stay open until two or three in the morning. Featuring DJs from all over the world, the clubs on and around Khao San Road pump out all sorts of music, from hip hop to trance and offer a lively atmosphere in which to see and be seen.

One of the great things about partying on Khao San Road is that there is always something to see and do here. Most venues are open every night of the week and have special nightly deals in order to attract customers.

Travellers should bear in mind that some of the women who hang out on Khao San Road aren’t quite as feminine as they appear at first glance. Ladyboys are common all over Thailand and it can be quite difficult to tell them apart from the real McCoy, especially after a few beers.

However, one of the great things about Thai people is that they are rarely pushy and both men and women can feel save and comfortable when partying on Khao San Road.