Former UFC fighters Tommy Hayden and Will Chope will meet for the first time at Full Metal Dojo 13 in Bangkok on 25 February.
It’s a fight that FMD CEO Jon Nutt has been looking to make for some time now, but injuries have thrice put the brakes on this highly anticipated match-up. The fight will take place at 73kg.
On the line is an FMD lightweight Samurai Sword – FMD’s equivalent of a MMA title belt.
Since leaving the UFC, both Chope and Hayden have built solid careers in Thailand, remaining active and notching up wins under various promotions, including Full Metal Dojo.
In March this year, Hayden secured a win over Arden Escayo at FMD 9: To Live and Die in Bangkok, while Chope, one of the region’s busiest fighters, secured a split decision win over Michal Vostry at FMD 8: Return of the Mack.
Jon Nutt said there was a lot of significance to this match.
“Experience wise, it is one of the most experienced fights Thailand has ever had. It’s the first time two former UFC fighters have ever fought in the kingdom of Thailand,” he said.
“Aside from that, Will Chope’s last fight in the UFC was against Max Holloway, the current interim UFC featherweight title holder. It shows our level of fighters are up there with the big boys.”
FMD 13, currently under the working title of “Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made Of” will be held for the last time at Insanity Nightclub before the Sukhumvit soi 12 establishment is torn down. The partnership with Insanity Group, however, will continue.
Nutt said a new venue was being considered on Sukhumvit soi 11 and was being built with FMD events in mind.
“Insanity Group is taking us into consideration when they build this new mega club on Sukhumvit soi 11. It’s a lot bigger and it’s right in the heart of the action, tourism and nightlife. We’ll be right in the mix. The new venue will be kickass.”
Nutt has a long history with Insanity Group, going back to DARE Fight Sports, which was was birthed at Insanity. DARE went on to hold six events between 2011 and 2013.
A Big Year
FMD 13 kicks-off a big 2017 for Nutt and his team, with six FMD shows penciled in. A new Muay Thai tournament dubbed Full Metal Muay Thai will be launched, as is a new amateur MMA league, launched in partnership with ONE Championship fighter Shannon Wiratchai and ONE Championship Thailand president Kamol ‘Sukie’ Sukosol Clapp.
FMD is also deepening its involvement with IMMAF and a “Made in Thailand” event will take place in 2017.
“Full Metal Muay Thai is a go this year,” Nutt said.
He said fighters will compete wearing four ounce gloves and will fight inside a ring (not a cage) inside a nightclub – giving fans a similar experience to a Full Metal Dojo show.
“Thailand is the mecca of Muay Thai. The best Muay Thai in the world is here. Lumpinee and Ratchadamnoen are the two biggest stadiums for Muay Thai, but Thais have never produced a show for an international audience. We really plan on going after an US audience with Full Metal Muay Thai.”
With ONE also set to host two events in Bangkok, 2017 is shaping up as a huge year for mixed martial arts in Thailand and Nutt says this is a good thing.
“A lot of people see ONE Championship as competition, but I don’t see it like that. We have to be team players.”