Muay Thai fighters use the combinations of punches and kicks with their elbows and knees to hit their opponent. They fight in combats using the weapons of the human body to clinch and sweep their opponents. In contemporary times, Muay Thai fights have transitioned into a well-organized ring sports and in the 20th and 21st century it became widespread internationally. So how much do Muay Thai fighters make per fight?
Muay Thai fighters make around 10,000 to 15,000 baht which is about $300 – 450 per fight. The top fighters make up to 60,000 baht that is around $4000. Fighters of the lower rank make even less which is around $100 per fight.
As compared to the boxers or MMA fighters, Muay Thai fighters do not make much money. Even if they win the prize it is divided among so many people involved in the game that the fighters get a small portion of the money. There is no alternative profession for them as they start practicing at an early age. To earn some extra money, Muay Thai fighters have to fight multiple times in a month. That does not mean they will earn millions of dollars. Some of the fighters fight several times a month because they love their lifestyle and gym. Some younger fighters, fight more to earn more in order to make a living.
One option for fighters is to become a coach but there are already so many professional coaches. Muay fighters have to look for other ways to make more money. In the rest of this article, we will present you with the most interesting information about ways in which Muay Thai fighters make money.
The influence of gambling has become prominent in Muay Thai fights. The fighters can earn a significantly higher amount through betting. There are certain fights advertised as having a $30,000 prize placed on them. These people are called ‘Sian Muay’ because they earn their living from Muay Thai fights. Gamblers must be skilled and experienced in order to bet because there is a risk of loss involved.
Fighters are also clever in this matter. The fighters earn even more by betting on themselves. They have to look for a gambler and through him, they can bet on themselves. Intentionally, some fighters fight bad in the initial rounds to fool the bookies so that they bet more on the opponent fighters while their coaches bet on them. In the final rounds, the fighters then destroy their opponents and get double or triple of the initial amount.
There are also some gamblers who offer heavy amounts to fighters to lose. But, this is a crime in Thailand and fighters could have serious consequences. If a fighter is noticed throwing off a fight, they will be banned for months or even years.
Muay Thai Fighters as Boxers
Boxing is another way where Muay Thai fighters can perform well and earn a significant amount of money. Professional boxers earn more money than Muay Thai fighters. Boxers get the opportunity to compete in the Olympic games and if they are able to win a gold medal, the government of Thailand pays the winner around $300,000.
This is why there are many Muay Thai fighters who join boxing. It is also possible that during the training of Muay Thai, if the coaches notice, the fighter is better for boxing they will advise the fighter to join boxing. However, most fighters do not switch, because many of them do not fight for money or fame but they fight because it has become part of their lifestyle. As discussed earlier, they start practicing from an early age, and switching to boxing will not be easy for them.
Fighting Outside Thailand
Muay Thai fighters can make more money if they fight in countries like China or Japan. Fighters can make up to $3,000 when they fight in K1 or Glory, some of Asian kickboxing organizations. Foreign Muay fighters also take part in these fights and can earn more than what is offered in Thailand. The quality of these fights is believed to be lower but the paycheck is double than what a Lumpinee champions make per fight. This can be around 100,000 baht which is up to $3,000 per fight.
Sittichai is one of the fighters who fight internationally and is earning a good amount of money. According to his gym owner Tim, he makes up to $12,000 per fight abroad.
Foreign Muay Thai Fighters
As discussed earlier, foreign fighters make even lesser money than any other fighter in Thailand. A farang (foreign) fighter can only earn $60 if he is fighting for the first time. One of the reasons could be because Thai people want to support their own fighters. But, that does not mean foreign fighters will earn less throughout their career. Foreigners need to fight more fights than a fighter from Thailand and that should be good fights.
If a foreign fighter is fighting in the Lumpinee stadium, he can earn up to 2000 to 5000 baht per fight that is around $60 to $160. However, a foreign fighter can earn more in outlying markets like Phuket and Koh Samui. There are even more opportunities in Bangla for foreign fighters to earn a significant amount of money as there are more gamblers. In these cities, foreigners can make $120 – $230 as a beginner. So, on average, if they fight 15 -20 times and have good ranking then they can earn more than $1000 per fight easily.
Muay Thai Legends
A Lumpinee or Rajadamnern champion can make up to 60,000 baht per fight which is around $1800. The prize is then divided with the gym which takes 30% of the money so the fighter is left with around 20,000 baht which is up to $600 per fight.
Buakaw and Saenchai who are the legends of Muay Thai and are famous around the globe make more money than the other fighters including all the champions. These legends can earn millions of dollars from their gyms in Thailand and from the seminars where they show their techniques. They can also earn from the promotions and tickets of their fights where they negotiate better paychecks.
Total Earning of Muay Thai Fighters
Globally famous big-names like Pornsanae Sitmoncha, who has retired, can make over 100,000 baht per month. These fighters work abroad and take private lessons so on average, the sum of their basic salary and fee from these private lessons makes it around $30,000 a month. However, the total earning of young and new like Ley is not more than 30,000 to 50,000 baht per month, which is around $800 to $1400 a month.
Fighters and trainers in Thailand like Samsamut Kiatchongkao, can earn around 12,000 baht a month that is about $350. These salaries are coupled with free room and board at the gym. These trainers are often offered a job abroad where they can earn six to eight times as much as 80,000 to 100,000 baht a month, which is around $2500 to $ 3000 plus other facilities included like accommodation and gym.
Muay Thai Fighters After Retirement
As compared to other fighters, Muay Thai fighters do not earn more when they retire. Many of the champions in Thailand do not have enough money saved after retirement. Most of the fighters have to struggle to make a living after retirement. Some of them even take ill-fitting jobs after their career is over. This is the reason many of the fighters start their own gym and take the gym instructor role where they train the younger fighters. If they get students, then they can take 30% of the prize money won by their student fighter which is a good amount of money.
But, if they are not among the big names, it is hard for them to find students because there are already well trained and professional trainers available in Thailand. In order to get the job, the fighter has to be an outstanding coach. Therefore, some of the fighters after retirement plan to move abroad where they can work as trainers in gyms and earn enough money. But, most of the fighters prefer to stay with their family and friends after their retirement. Sagetdao Petpayathai, a champion shares his story where he mentioned that all his earnings went to his family and to his sister whom he got through university. After his retirement, he became a teacher at Evolve MMA.