Mixed Martial Arts, Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. For those who just casually watch these fights, it might be hard to tell the difference between them. As Watertown prepares for a big Muay Thai event in the city Saturday night, it highlights the biggest difference: That it's legal in New York while professional MMA is not. Our Brian Dwyer has more on that and why many say it's confusing because Muay Thai is generally considered more violent.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- For more than two months now, these fighters have been training for Saturday night. Local MMA star Marc Stevens, Ground Zero 2 and American Fighter Alliance are bringing Muay Thai fights to the Watertown Fairground Arena. Stevens says Muay Thai isn't your everyday boxing match.
"It's originally from Thailand," Stevens said. "It's the art of the eight limbs. Punches, kicks, knees, elbows, everything. It's fast paced. It's short rounds. It's very fast and very exciting. It's going to be a lot of fun."
It sounds a lot like MMA, but fighters say it's so much more aggressive.
"There's nothing more brutal than Muay Thai," fighter Alex Larmey said. "MMA and everything else, if a guy starts beating you in the face, you have the opportunity to take them out on the ground. Here it's just toe to toe, non-stop, who's the toughest guy in there."
And it's that violence that leaves the fighters a bit confused. Muay Thai events are just fine in New York State, but the less dangerous MMA is banned.
"I honestly have no idea why Muay Thai is legal in New York State and MMA isn't. Muay Thai is definitely more dangerous," Stevens said. "It's more brutal. I'm not getting in there. I'm putting on the show. I have no interest in getting in there."
Stevens though, totally understands why the men and women he's training for Saturday do want to get in there. They say people need to look past the danger and see what the sport really means and make it all legal.
"I want to show my kids they can be strong and they can defend themselves. Especially this day and age there's so many bullies out there," fighter Vriesea Schutlz said. "Kids need something to look up to. This isn't, the sport is not about the violence. This about a great deal of discipline that most people don't understand until they try it."
The fights Saturday will feature fighters from all over the country and Canada. Stevens says it's basically a Vegas or Atlantic City fight card in the North Country.
The doors open Saturday at 5 p.m. and fights start at 6. Tickets are $15 to $20 and available at Jiu Jitsu Nation or at the door.
Stevens tells us there will be a major announcement during the show's intermission that involves MMA and Watertown.