Muay Thai Fighter Lifestyle: All your questions answered!
Updated: Feb 5
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One thing we are always getting questioned about is Muay Thai fighters and their lifestyle! Muay Thai fighters aren't covered as publicly as boxers and MMA fighters so sometimes it can leave the mind to wonder, do they live similar lives to MMA fighters and boxers or do Muay Thai fighters live by their own rules?
In Thailand, life is probably a bit more strict for the life of a professional Muay Thai fighter as they live in the gym and they are surrounded by their coaches every day who have one goal for them which is to achieve peak performance and win major fights and titles.
Outside of Thailand, life will be a little less strict, and fighters will live more to their own accord and set the routines that work best for themselves. However, if you are a fighter which wants to reach the top, you'll need to ensure that you have massive amounts of dedication and determination.
Do Muay Thai fighters smoke?
If you've ever been to Thailand and trained in their Muay Thai gyms, it is likely that you've seen a Thai who is a fighter smoking like a chimney - although it's funny at first sight, it does make you think, won't that harm their performance in the ring?
Yes, Muay Thai fighters do smoke, the reality is that fighters in Thailand don't have the nutritionalists or the strict diets as MMA fighters & boxers do, that would probably strongly advise against smoking and do their best to get the fighters to stop. Smoking is also very common in Thailand and this is a likely reason that Muay Thai fighters in Thailand smoke.
When seeing fighters smoke, you may also notice that it is often the older fighters who are probably coming towards the tail end of their career, and maybe care less about being in peak performance than the young up-and-coming fighters.
Smoking is harmful the the organs in your body and is bad for training Muay Thai, and any other sport. When exercising your body requires oxygen to be carried to your muscles, this is done via your red blood cells. In smokers, instead of the red blood cells carrying oxygen, they will carry carbon monoxide, which means that the blood doesn’t deliver as much oxygen to the muscles and you end up out of breath much more quickly.
Do Muay Thai fighters take steroids?
Steroids have been present in sport for as long as they've been around, but whereas other combat sports such as MMA & Boxing have strict anti-doping regulations, Muay Thai doesn't have the same stringent testing or rules.
The majority of Muay Thai fighter do not take steroids, however there will always be some that do. A lot of the Thai fighters won't even be able to afford to take steroids, and it'll likely be the foreign fighters that are using steroids.
Steroids are a major advantage to anyone who competes in combat sports, they aid recovery massively meaning that you can train harder and longer without having to worry about major aches and pains the next day.
The most popular steroids that are used in combat sports are Stanozolol & Dianabol. The main signs of steroid use are acne, enlarged breasts (in men) & facial hair growth (in women).
Do professional Muay Thai fighters drink alcohol?
Yes, professional Muay Thai fighters do drink alcohol - as afterall, they are human beings just like the rest of us!
A professional Muay Thai fighter will often enter their fight camp between 6 and 8 weeks before their actual fight date (unless you are fighting in Thailand where you'll likely be fighting every couple of weeks). Once a fighter has entered their camp, they will be much more stricter on their diet, and the first step will likely involve completely cutting out alcohol.
Does this mean that fighters never drink alcohol? Of course not, outside of their fight camps fighters will drink and enjoy their social lives as they wish.
In Thailand, there are several professional Muay Thai fighters who have developed damaging drink and drug problems, and they'll likely train and fight whilst drinking alcohol, and they may even be intoxicated during their fights.
How often does a professional Muay Thai fighter train?
A professional Muay Thai fighter will often train 2 - 3 times per day depending on whether they are in fight camp or not. Their training sessions will generally last between 1 - 2 hours.
Not all training sessions will be focused purely around Muay Thai, some may be as simple as a run or other sessions may be strength and conditioning work.
If you continue reading this article, we've put together our list of the average daily routine of a professional Muay Thai fighter, and this has been put together having had spent time around and trained with many fighters all over the world.
How much money do professional Muay Thai fighters make?
The amount of money that Muay Thai fighters makes depends on their experience, fame and the country that they are fighting in. We've put together our breakdown below to help you understand how much a money a professional Muay Thai fighter can earn.
How much do Muay Thai fighters make in the UK?
The average Muay Thai fighter in the UK will make around £500 per fight, as well as earning commission on selling tickets for the event. The very top fighters can make up to £8,000 per fighting depending on their popularity, experience and fight record.
How much do Muay Thai fighters make in the US?
The average Muay Thai fighter in the US will make around £250 per fight, as well as earning commission on selling tickets for the event. The very top fighters can make up to £5,000 per fighting depending on their popularity, experience and fight record.
How much do Muay Thai fighters make in Thailand?
The average Muay Thai fighter in Thailand will make around 10,000 baht which is about £200 per fight. The very top fighters make up to 60,000 baht that is around £1,300.
How much do Muay Thai fighters make in France?
The average Muay Thai fighter in the France will make around £500 per fight, as well as earning commission on selling tickets for the event. The very top fighters can make up to £6,000 per fighting depending on their popularity, experience and fight record.
How often does a professional Muay Thai fighter fight per year?
In Thailand, professional Muay Thai fighters can fight every 3-4 weeks depending on their level of activity, their position in the rankings and their current run of form. In the rest of the world, the average professional Muay Thai fighter will fight 3 - 4 times per year.
The average professional Muay Thai fighters daily routine
The reality is, everyone lives their life differently and so do Muay Thai fighters. There is no one way to do things, gyms have different routines, coaches have different beliefs and fighters react better to some things that other fighters won't.
Having said that, we have been around many fighters and we've put together what an average day in the life of a professional Muay Thai fighter looks like. The routine below will be carried out Monday - Saturday, with Sunday being used as a rest day.
7am: Go for a morning run which will generally be at a steady pace over 6 - 10km.
7:30 - 9.30am: The first Muay Thai session of the day will begin following the run. This will often last around two hours and will generally be a session that is focused more around pad work and technique.
7:30am - 4.00pm: Following the morning session the fighter will need to refuel and rest, ready for their later sessions. If a fighter is training more than twice per day then they may add an hour session in this time space at around 12am.
4:00pm - 6:00pm: The evening Muay Thai session will start at around 4pm, this will be more of an intense session that the morning and will likely include some form of sparring or clinch work.
6:00pm onwards: Now the sessions are complete for the day, the fighter has the rest of the day to himself, which will likely include eating again, relaxing for some time and then getting to sleep quite early to be fresh for the next day.
Do Muay Thai fighters get cauliflower ear?
Cauliflower ear is a condition where the ears fill with blood due to a built force or trauma and this causes some deformity in the shape of the ear.
Muay Thai fighters do get cauliflower ear, either caused by a strike to the ear, or by the ears being rubbed on during clinch work. Muay Thai fighters are not as prone to suffering from cauliflower ear as MMA fighters and wrestlers are.
The lifestyle of a professional Muay Thai fighter isn't easy, and requires dedication, hard work and consistency throughout everything you do - it certainly isn't for the faint hearted.