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No fooling around at the Fight Circus

No fooling around at the Fight Circus

MMA: With Phuket becoming a major hub of combat sports, from Muay Thai to MMA and bareknuckle boxing, it was only a matter of time before it would all be flipped on its head.

By Jean-Pierre Mestanza

Saturday 15 April 2023, 10:00AM

Fight Circus 6 ‘The Rise of Sloppy Balboa’ took place on April Fool’s Day (Apr 1) at Illuzion Nightclub in Patong, with some legendary names lending their star power to the weirdest show this side of the cage.

The main event featured none other than MMA legend Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, known to many for his portrayal of B.A. Barracus in the 2010 film adaptation of the popular 1980s TV show The A-Team, whose regular catchphrase of “Pity the fool” has become the stuff of popular culture legend.

Jackson is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion who also unified the Pride Middleweight Championship belt who also had a successful stint as a professional wrestler.

His partner in the ring for a ‘Siamese Boxing’ twin fight was veteran Bob Sapp, a former American Football player who played for both the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings in the late 1990s. Since retiring he has also been a kickboxer, professional wrestler, actor and mixed martial artist, who is currently under contract with Rizin Fighting Federation in Japan.

Ringleader and Fight Circus founder, Jon Nutt, a veteran of the combat sports scene in Thailand, led the festivities throughout the evening, which was streamed on their website and Fite TV.

Jackson and Sapp - the ‘Twopollo Ramsapp Creed’ team - took on Nutt and highly-regarded fight trainer Andrew Wood of Bang Tao Muay Thai in the ‘Siamese Boxing’ twin fight.

This entailed Jackson and Sapp, strapped together in an oversized shirt, throw hands against the ‘Sloppy Balboa’ duo of Nutt and Wood, who were also shoulder-to-shoulder in their massive shirt.

Jackson and Sapp displayed their intent from the outset and Nutt was soon dropped with a vicious body punch in the first round, dragging Wood to the canvas with him as he fell.

The bout lasted two rounds of one-and-a-half minutes each, despite multiple stoppages, and the crowd were left demanding more even after Jackson and Sapp were declared the winners.

Wheel of Violence’

Jackson and Sapp’s victory was the culmination of the typically odd yet humorously entertaining card that also included a blindfolded Muay Thai fight, a two-versus-one fight, a ‘ring girls tug of war’ and a bareknuckle bout between two motorbike drivers, for the chance to win a brand-new Honda Click motorbike.

In addition, the night saw a ‘Human Piñata’ match in which Steve ‘Panda’ Banks, wearing a backpack filled with cash, fought off against six other fighters. The fighters who managed to successfully rip off the backpack and take the money won the cash.

The night also saw a ‘Wheel of Violence’ matchup between Joel Fratelo and Kushal Vyas, in which both young fighters would spin a wheel and get into a scrap dependant upon where the wheel would land. This included a 2-minute Muay Thai fight, and a 3-minute MMA bout, which would see Fratello victorious.

Fight Circus 6 did include an MMA fight, which put Kyoken Tampiyanan against Phuket-based fighter Campbell Symes, who was making his debut. Symes won the bout in under two minutes to start off with a 1-0 in his career.

Fight Circus has certainly found a home in Phuket, with several events having taken place on the island over the last two years. Nutt, whose previous ventures included the Full Metal Dojo MMA promotion that was largely based out of Bangkok, has no plans of slowing down, with more events in the works.

Sapp had taken part in previous Fight Circus events at the Rawai Boxing Stadium although Fight Circus 6 is certainly their biggest production to date, with UFC and Pride legend Jackson by far the biggest star involved. Fight Circus announced his addition to the card earlier this year, which made headlines worldwide and shone a spotlight on the event, given the starpower of the 44-year-old former MMA champion.

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