SOI TAIED STADIUM: REVIEW
Welcome to Soi Taied, home of the fitness obsessed farang. Until you have experienced the street yourself, you can’t quite imagine anything like it. There are a total of five gyms, ranging from pure fitness, strength and conditioning, to hardcore Muay Thai and MMA.
Add a stadium into the mix and surely you won’t find the need to ever leave the street! However the Taied Stadium has been controversial to say the least. Previously we have had to travel slightly off the street to Suwit Stadium, or even further to Bangla or the lesser known Patong stadium.
These stadiums predominantly make their money from tourists who want a taste of a ‘real Thai fight’ and who will happily shell out 1000-2000฿ per ticket. Soi Taied is not only home to most of the fighters on the island, but also most of the broke people on the island. So how will Taied Stadium make it’s money?
I must admit being very skeptical of this stadium, as I am with most new things. I couldn’t see how a Muay Thai stadium could feel authentic in the midst of the most farang soiled streets in Phuket. Expecting the worst as I drove towards the stadium the stadium, I started thinking up excuses of why I would have to leave early.
However to my surprise, Taied Stadium turned out to exceed all expectations. They actually had a higher number of Thai fighters than I had ever seen at Bangla Stadium, and this made it an authentic experience altogether. And as I walked through the gates into the stadium, I could feel a really great atmosphere. My thoughts on the stadium were already beginning to change for the better and as I saw a few familiar faces I really started getting in to the spirit of things.
The evening started off about 45 minutes late, and by Thai tradition, that was completely expected. Furthermore, the venue was fairly empty until around the time of the first fight. Cheffy Baby (of Tiger Muay Thai fame) was the man on the mic and actually did a very good job despite clearly having no idea what the Thai commentator was saying. This actually made it all the more amusing and certainly broke the ice within the audience.
Once the fights started, they came in quick succession, barely leaving time for the spectators to get bored. About two or three fights in, I noticed a huge group of Thai’s huddled in one corner of the stadium, all shouting and hustling one another. I was told by my friend that this was the ‘betting corner’ and surprise surprise most of our trainers were in the middle of the group being the biggest hustlers of them all!
Taied Stadium is definitely doing things a little different, particularly with the introduction of an MMA fight. Both participants hailed from Tiger, and I was informed that actually they were good friends and training partners so I don’t think they took it too seriously. Both boys did a great job and the bout finished with a second round arm bar from Victor Maccachero.
The main attraction of Taied Stadium to the fighters is a 16 man tournament (The Andaman League) in which a 200,000฿ prize fund is available. The tournament’s first round concluded last night with a match up between Phuket Top Team‘s Sangmoragod (otherwise known as Jen) and Sitsongpeenong’s Sagultong. Of course Phuket Top Team won the battle with a brutal knock out and Jen went through to the the final eight. The final eight were then matched up via a public draw in the ring.
The last fight of the night involved one of the better known trainers on the street, Nong and his opponent Goty. This was in fact their third bout against each other with the previous two ending one apiece. Although I was rooting for Nong, Goty dominated him from the first bell and took the win after Nong decided to call it a day in round 3.
All in all, it was an extremely enjoyable night, with just the right amount of culture, authenticity and humor. Despite my original feelings on the stadium I would now not hesitate to recommend a visit there to anyone.
Fight 2: 70kg
Fight 3 MMA: 70kg
Fight 4: 70kg
Fight 5: 65kg
Fight 6: 52kg