FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
AUSTIN, TEXAS (16 January 14)—The Muay Thai Alliance of Texas (MTAT) has long been known for leading the Muaythai Revolution in the Lone Star State, but it’s now lacing up its gloves and putting on its mongkol and prajiat to defend itself and fight for the art and sport of Muaythai in a civil courtroom.
Oddly enough, the "Fight of the Year" is an administrative hearing set for Friday, January 17th---against the very state that it has proudly represented in National and World competition.
The controversy stems from an anonymous complaint alleging that the Alliance held an "unsanctioned combative sports contest" on December 1st, 2012. The event in question “Texas Muay Talent Search 9” was held in Edinburg, Texas in honor of H.M. the King of Thailand’s 85th Birthday, and has been the most successful event to date in helping educate the public and developing its Muaythai athletes—boasting over 500 people in attendance.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) contends that the Alliance acted as an illegal promoter by hosting an unsanctioned contest, while the Alliance, whose mission since 2009 has been to hold events statewide for the sake of preserving and promoting Muaythai (as well as help develop Texas athletes for competition) contends that the TDLR has no jurisdiction to regulate athletic, cultural, and educational matters pertaining to Muaythai—including those events that foster cultural growth, education, and understanding by the public at large.
Of the complaint and upcoming legal battle, whose outcome stands to create a monumental precedent for Muaythai in Texas, MTAT Chairman Pramajarn Kayan Sitsanthaparn said: “Unfortunately, this is a classic example of outside individuals interfering with our purpose and mission due to lack of understanding and proper information. The real shame here is that despite our longstanding offer to help, not once has the TDLR and the Boxing Commission approached us or made an effort to learn about what Muaythai really is or to know the difference between legitimate and non-legitimate individuals and organizations."
According to Sitsanthaparn, no such complaint or legal issue had ever been lodged against the MTAT with regard to its first eight talent search events, now leaving the intentions of the state agency under close scrutiny. “I’m confident that in the end, Muaythai will prevail and as a result, will set the stage for us to seek a legal injunction and punitive damages against the TDLR, the Boxing Commission, and further lead to a positive change in the State’s laws regarding our art and sport in the future,” he added.
The legal proceeding will be held in Austin before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) according to Texas Administrative Law and will place the burden of proof on the state agency and commission. That burden will further be based on the preponderance of the evidence.
As the first and only organization in the State of Texas dedicated to preserving and promoting the art and sport of Muaythai, expect the Alliance to come out of its corner to fight hard from the drop of the gavel to the very end.