I know I am way behind on this one and my apologies to the author but I only just got some downtime now that it's the Thai New Year. Enjoy- Luke
Never Tap 2 No Gi Event, Phuket, Thailand, March 27, 2010
Many people know me for my ‘have gi/rash guard/shorts will compete’ attitude over the years and this has seen me compete all over the UK, Europe and Scandinavia and more recently stepping up to do battle in the Middle East in 2008 and now in the Far East at the Never Tap 2 No Gi event in Phuket.
For many of the competitions, travelling has always been a major factor, getting up at the crack of dawn and heading out on the road to the tournament destination; fortunately for me, at the Never Tap, the competition was literally on my doorstep, as the venue was the Tiger Muay Thai Camp, which is where yours truly is staying whilst in Phuket and all I had to do was leave my room and walk an easy fifteen metres to the registration table and that was it – I wish all comps were like this!
Ray Elbe and an army of helpers at TMT had worked hard behind the scenes organizing the event and over fifty competitors turned up to do battle in the rings and cage; UFC and Pride veteran Phil Baroni was on refereeing duties adding a touch of class to the proceedings and John Vargas, Boku and Ryan Diaz were also spectating and offering much needed help and advice to competitors.
All fights were held under 3x3 minute rounds and in the event of a fight going the distance with out a submission, the decision went to the judges, who scored on aggression, dominance and technical ability; a yellow card rule was also in operation and if given, the fighter automatically lost that round and the time of the fights started as soon as one fighter was taken down to the mat, which led to a number of energy sapping long bouts for some fighters. All fights were double elimination, which meant the losers of the first fights entered a pool and fought for bronze medal.
The Fighting Photographer gave a good account of himself in his first fight in the middleweight division against a tough GB Newcastle warrior from Australia, winning the match in the second round with an arm bar; facing Leigh Allwood from Australia in the next round, both fighters countered back and forth with throws, guard passes and submission attempts, before Leigh caught the FP napping towards the end of the first round and finished the fight with a kimura.
2004 Olympian Sophie Cox from the UK took gold medal in the female division, show casing some great Judo throws en route to the winner’s medal and fight of the day went to Bangkok BJJ member Ryuma Kaise who fought Wictor Duhlstrom in a thrilling lightweight match. TMT walked away with the lion’s share of the gold medals and all that was left after the Absolute matches was the legendary BBQ Beatdown and drinking competition – anyone wishing to see the photos can email me at email@example.com
Photos from the FP and Robin Merrill from TMT