Last week, I wrote an article about my experience at the Church Street Gym, just hours before Friday Night Fights, the Muay Thai promotion that has slowly taken the nation by storm. Aside from Kickboxer with Jean Claude Van-Damme, Muay Thai hasn’t gotten nearly as much exposure in the United States as it deserves, but with the rise to fame of the UFC and fighters like Anderson Silva, the nation is now primed for Thailand’s National Sport to make a big and lasting splash.
At the fight, I got to see Alex Ma, a fighter with only 3 fights under his belt come out to the biggest ovation of any other fighter competing, and dominate an opponent who Alex tells me he hand-picked because of his veteran experience. I should mention that Alex is from Great Neck, Long Island, has a full time job, no real aspirations of being a professional, yet has still managed to destroy all 4 opponents that have stood in his path, all very good reasons why he is such a fan favorite. He also loves a great steak and a glass of Scotch, which in our eyes makes him a Socialite to the fullest. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Alex for an exclusive interview about what makes him who he is, his passion for Muay Thai, and how he’s been able to become such a force in a sport that begun as a hobby.
* Photos courtesy of VALENTIN MIRABILE
The Campus Socialite: A lot of people are unfamiliar with the significance of a fighter’s record. What does a 4-0 record mean in your world?
TCS: How did you get into Muay Thai? Why not Karate, or Boxing or another fighting style?
Again, people here have day jobs, whether it be in finance or as a personal trainer. You have to put bread on the table. I think myself lucky to have found my escape in life. In college, that was drinking and partying but in real life that sometimes effects your work. Let’s get it straight, college was awesome, and sometimes it can be hard to cope with the separation anxiety, but fighting has become my escape. Whatever’s bothering me that day gets tossed out of my mind for the 2-3 hours I’m in the gym each night. For that time I am truly happy with a smile on my face, even if the workout is grueling.
One last thing: In a city where dudes talk a lot of trash, and a lot of times pretend to be someone that they’re not, when you step into that ring, you can’t lie, you can’t cheat, you can’t hide behind some false bravado and you can’t tell me you’re someone that you’re not. When you’re in that ring, you are 100% honest – to your opponent and to yourself.