Pete Scott is a Scottish Muay Thai fighter. He explains how he ended up living an fighting in Thailand. Muay Thai is not just a sport for the Thai, but a way of living.
Pete Scott first started training Muay Thai in the beginning of 2010. That was the first time he came in contact with a fighting art. Other than an a few brawls at football games or in bars or clubs. ‘I played football all my life and played almost every day from around 5 years old until my early 20’s.’
‘At one point I was playing for a Saturday team and a Sunday team, along with 5-aside teams during the week with my friends. Sometimes I was playing a game of football every day and that was tough for my knees. I dislocated my knee when I was 16 and since then it’s never been the same, so I got advised from my doctor to go easy on running and sprinting especially. It got to the stage where I was going into work limping because of playing football all the time. So I decided not to play the game anymore for sometime.
Being introduced into Mixed Martial Arts
During this time he would drink a lot. At the same time he was getting unfit because he wasn’t playing football: ‘I was getting unfit and gaining a bit of weight so decided I would have to do something to keep me fit and away from the alcohol.’
‘I had went to watch one of my friends Keith Middleton fight Muay Thai on a couple of occasions. I thought that it looked crazy and I was straight away intrigued on how it would feel to step into the ring in front of hundreds of people and try knock someone out, while they were trying to do the same to you.’
He asked his friend Keith about the training and it sounded like good fun. And kickboxing/muay thai keep you fit: ‘So I decided I would go along to training just to keep fitwith no intention of fighting.’
Train like the Thai
‘But it got to the stage where as I was progressing and then sparring with the fighters, AMT’s main coach Ronnie and the other fighters would tell me I should have a fight. I thought about it and I was like: “Yeah why not?”. What’s the worst that can happen?’
‘Luckily for me the club I was training at, Aberdeen Muay Thai (AMT), had a few fighters training there who had spent some time training and fighting in Thailand. So the training at AMT was always done similar to how the Thais train in Thailand. This would benefit me further on when I did decide to step into the ring.’
A scary thought having your first fight coming up
Dit Pete new what he was up for? He laughs: ‘Well, I must not have thought it through to carefully, as quite a lot bad can happen when you step into the ring and fight with someone who’s trained how to fight properly and wanting to punch, kick, knee, and elbow your head off.’
According to Pete those are exactly the things that make a lot of people cancel their fights, because they feel unfit or ‘scared’, just not ready.
‘I had been training around 7 months when I had my first fight. I remember feeling calm and thinking to myself, “why am I not nervous”? The fight went really good, dominating it from the start and winning by 3rd round KO. I had my second fight a month after that also winning by round 3 KO. I won my next 2 fights by KO, before fighting a bigger stronger opponent from Ireland named Pat Hickey who was my first loss, beating me on points after a hard 5 rounds and getting my eye cut open with a knee to the head.
I fought again shortly after that in London and lost on points getting my nose broken within a knee to the face this time. Being my record to 4 wins and 2 losses only 2 years after I first started training. After that fight I took some time off. It took 2 years before I fought again.’
Traveling, drinking and training.
In that 2 years he traveled in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia: ‘I would still train a lot during my travels, but I would drink even more. I have been lucky enough to train at gyms all over Thailand and even a lovely gym in Vietnam called Saigon Sports Club (SSC).’
I have met lots of great people and now lifelong friend through Muay Thai, travelling and training in different gyms. My friend Martijn from the Netherlands, who never traint a fighting sport, even cut my head open when I thought him an elbow technique.’ This demonstrates how easy it can be to cut someone open if a beginner can do it. The elbow is incredibly hard and creates cuts on your face quite often under full Muay Thai rules.
Working on an oil rig and training in Thailand
After his travels he went back to Aberdeen and started working offshore on the oil rigs in the North Sea, working 3 weeks then getting 3 weeks holiday. During his 3 weeks off he would continue training in Muay Thai with trips back and fore to Thailand. With different gyms in Scotland and Thailand. ‘I do believe that the more different gyms and different people you get to train with, it helps you progress as a fighter’, says Pete.
When Pete had his first full Muay Thai fight in Thailand he won by second round KO. I hit him with several elbows to the head, resulting in my opponent needing 9 stitches to his head and myself needing 3 stitches to my elbow.’
Fighting in Thailand vs fighting in the UK
‘In my opinion fighting in Thailand is a lot different to fighting in the UK. When fighting in the UK you know who you’re fighting usually in 1 or 2 months in advance and you can find out information about them. For example, his name, how much fights he’s had, what gym he fights out of. You can search on YouTube or Facebook and watch videos of his previous fights and training to get to know his strengths and weaknesses.’
‘In Thailand, you don’t know who your fighting until you turn up at the stadium and see who is standing in front of you.’
The Thai way of life, the fighting way of life
If you are fighting in Thailand you know one thing for sure, the person that your fighting (if he is Thai) has been training Muay Thai from around 5 years old like the most of Thailand’s male population who fight Muay Thai. ‘Training and living with all the Thais in and around the gyms, you get to see first-hand how much Muay Thai means to everyone in Thailand’, says Pete.
‘It’s there life…’, continues Pete. ‘Lots of kids will train in the morning before school and after school. Then fight late at nights and go to school the next day. I have been to fights and sat in the back of pick-up trucks for hours to the shows and back with kids as young as 10 who have fought and got their heads cut open and had them stitched at the side of the boxing ring in the dirt. Then they go to school the next morning. To them it’s nothing, it’s the same as most European kids will play football from as young a age when they can walk. Muay Thai is a main part of Thailand’s history and culture. Everything from the training, the pre-fight ceremonies and rituals. The fighters, the judges, the referees and the gamblers.’
Pete explains how gamblers play a big part in the fighting game.
They try to sway and cheer the judges in to direction on the fighter they put money on. ‘The gamblers will bet huge money on fights. The crowd cheer every time a big shots land. Sometimes when u watch a fight u will here cheers when nothing seems to land. This will be the gamblers cheering to make it look the fighter they have money on to win it dominating even when he’s not. If you watch a fight on TV with the volume turned down u may think the other fighter will win than if u watch it with the sound on or in a stadium live.’
Is that like with Ramon Dekkers? The Dutch Muay Thai legend who lost a lot of his fights on points when many people believe he should won.
Yeah, that’s it exactly. Especially when a Thai fights a foreigner u will usually hear the crowd cheering only when the Thai lands shots.
The Dutch Thai- and kickboxing legend Ramon Dekkers talks about fighting in Thailand.
Fighting once a week
Most Thais who fight Muay Thai will fight hundreds of times. Some fighting more than once in a day or a few times in one week. But usually they will fight once every week or every few weeks or atleast once a month. ‘The way the Thais fight is slightly different to foreigners. ‘Us foreigners will usually fight to win form the first bell and never give up, doing their best to win 100%. The Thais fight Muay Thai for a living; it’s their job and main source of income. So sometimes if they are fighting and it’s a hard fight they may not want to risk getting injured or cut, which may stop them fighting and earning money the next week’, Pete explains.
Taking a dive
In Thailand the first 2 rounds are usually fought at a light slow pace and are known as “the feeling out rounds”. These are where the fighters get to see their opponents style. Then the 3rd and 4th rounds are the big scoring rounds when both fighters will fight with all they have. If one fighter wins both the 3rd and 4th rounds then usually the other fighter will acknowledge it in the 5th and touch gloves and concede defeat.
According to Pete a lot of times you’ll watch fights in Thailand a Thai has given up easily or “taken a dive”. Pete says this is usually due to the fact that he feels that his opponent is better than him so he is basically conceding the fight and admitting defeat.
‘If you go to the big stadiums or big shows you will see it different though. Every Thai will fight 100% to win and that’s usually due to fighting for a title or to be noticed as the best or more usually (as I said earlier about the gamblers), down to money. Lots of big fights have so much money getting bet on the winner that if a fighter wins the fight, he could get 10 times more for winning the fight than he would for losing. This being a huge incentive to win at all costs.’
Pete thinks that a lot of foreign fighters are getting just as good as the Thais at Muay Thai. ‘I think this is mainly down to the fact of them getting to come and live and train in Thailand and train alongside the best Thai boxers in the world. In general foreign fighters are good with their hands due to western boxing being a big influence. Also good with their kicks and knees due to the western style of kickboxing.’
Do you have to knock them out to win in Thailand?
‘Yeah, they say to win a fight (as a foreigner, a farang as the Thai call it) in Thailand you have to knock them out!’
Kickboxing vs Muay Thai
‘Kickboxing is similar in some ways to Muay Thai, but if you fight Muay Thai you will be sure to remind people that you don’t train “kickboxing”, you train “Muay Thai” . Kickboxing is more of a wider stance and more bouncy on their feet. The Muay Thai stance is almost standing square to your opponents stance and nice and relaxed on your toes getting ready to unleash with both sides of your body equally as fast and strong.’ The Thais main strong points are their elbows and knees and clinching. ‘Clinching is pretty much grappling standing up where you battle with your arms and body for the best position to land shots. This is where lots of foreign fighters will lose fights against Thais due to not training this area enough in training.’
How is it going on with your fighting career?
‘I am currently in Thailand living and training Muay Thai full time just now. ‘I have had 6 full Muay Thai rule fights, 5 wins (4 KO’s) and one loss.
Pete lost the fight for the a stadium championship title in Thapae Stadium Chiang Mai on points. ‘I lost the fight against the champion on points in a hard fought 5 round fight, cutting him with an elbow during the fight but doing not enough to win the belt on points.’ He had to take so time off after that fight as his body was hurt in several places.
How does fighting help you with everything in your life?
‘Training Muay Thai in my opinion is the best way to keep fit and gain confidence. Also teaches you in self-defence and to show respect for others. Every time I fight I get the best buzz ever, whether you win or lose isn’t important. What’s important is that you know you’ve trained your hardest and you gave it 100%. Obviously you want to win and winning feels much better than losing but I can say that out of my 3 defeats I’ve had, that I fought a good fight and it wasn’t an easy win for my opponents and still got a great buzz after the fight.’
I’m not sure which fight I would say was my best performance. My favourite win would probably be my fourth fight when I fought in Galashiels, Scotland against a tough local fighter who had a really good record at the time and was a brawler wanting to punch my head off. In the first round he came out really fast and strong and caught me with some heavy punches and have me a nice black and blue cut eye. In the third round I landed a beautiful right head kick and knocked him out cold in the ring for around 5 minutes.
My worst performance was probably my 6th fight, when I took a fight on 4 week’s notice down in London and got injured in training, but kept training and fought not my greatest fight. My mum Brenda will never watch any of my fights but she doesn’t mind me fighting as long as am happy. My girlfriend Pa comes to watch me fight but is a bag of nerves watching me. Much the same as I am when I’m watching any of my friends fight. I get really nervous watching my friends fight but never get nervous when I’m fighting myself.
Do you still fight or brawl outside of the ring?
‘No, I don’t! Martial Arts has definitely calmed me down. I used to react to people when I was out. End I used to end up in fights. Now I will just laugh at someone if they start with me or try to get me angry. I won’t even bother to react of start a fight. Training every day and getting punched and kicked every day, it becomes normal and confrontation isn’t a big deal. So yeah, martial arts relaxed me and calmed me down a 100%.’
How is the sportsmanship in the fighting game?
The sportsmanship in Muay Thai in general is excellent. You go in the ring and during the bells you want to hurt your opponent and want to win. But when the final bell goes you don’t wish anyone to be hurt and you hug and shake hands and have a drink and laugh together.
Pete Scott’s fighting record
So far Pete Scott has gathered a record of 13 fights. 9 wins via ko, one win on points, and 3 losses all by points.