MTA: Starting a Muay Thai promotion might seem like a risk to many people since Muay Thai hasn't reached the popularity levels of MMA here in the United States, what appealed to you about starting a Muay Thai promotion?
Scott Kent: I think any business in this economy can be risky but we feel we have a sport that has survived for many centuries and grown around the world. We have a conservative business plan that allows us to grow with the sport. MMA has been extremely successful in a bad economy and they deserve all the credit for that but it also tells us there is loyal audience for combat sports. We feel that although Muay Thai is an essential part of any MMA fighter’s arsenal that it’s even more exciting as a stand alone sport. So we aren’t trying to compete with the UFC or Strikeforce or any other MMA promotion. If anything I think the success of MMA will increase the public’s awareness of Muay Thai.
MTA: Will Lion Fight Promotions be working with sanctioning bodies such as the WBC, and WMC or will it work on its own titles?
Scott Kent: At this point we have had discussions with the WMC and WBC and other sanctioning bodies. I have a lot of respect for these organizations and we will do what is in the best interest of our company and the fighters.
MTA: As far as goals for Lion Fight Promotions what is the main focus?
Scott Kent: When I sat down with Christine Toledo and we first started talking about this we realized we wanted to accomplish two things. Bring major international talent and provide a bigger stage for our local and regional fighters. We are in the Fight Capital of the World and we don’t have a Las Vegas based Muay Thai promotional company. It starts at the grassroots levels with the local gyms, the smokers and amateur events and getting them involved. Then give the fighters and fans the opportunity to see some of the best fighters in the world.
MTA: You are already making a splash with your first event bringing in many recognizable and talented fighters. When deciding what fighters would grace your first fight card what when into the decisions?
Scott Kent: When we were looking at the first card we wanted to bring the best fights we could with the budget we had. As a start up company we didn’t have sponsors or a TV deal. Christine and I were able to put together a card that will bring some well known names as well as some fighters from Thailand. We also wanted to showcase the Las Vegas fighters on the pro and amateur card. We are also putting together our May card and we will have some surprises Muay Thai fans will love.
MTA: How do you see future the for Muay Thai here in the United States?
Scott Kent: We are very optimistic about Muay Thai in the United States. Once people see it I think they will love it like all Muay Thai fans do. We just need to expose it and stay committed to it.
MTA: What do you think needs to done to help Muay Thai gain the recognition in the United States that MMA has achieved and no longer be seen as just an aspect of MMA, but a sport all in its own?
Scott Kent: The phenomenon of MMA and the UFC has developed very recently. I was working with Mandalay Resort Group when the UFC did their first show and many people were disappointed with the ground game. Since then they have made changed and adapted to what the fans want to see more of. Muay Thai on the other hand has a centuries old rich tradition that MMA didn’t have and had more success in Asia and Europe. I actually think Muay Thai acceptance would have been more difficult before MMA. It was just a few years ago John McCain compared MMA as human cockfighting and look where it is now. The public’s appetite for all combat sports has exploded. That’s why I feel Muay Thai has such a bright future here. A martial art that is all stand up and utilizes punches, kicks, knees and elbows? It doesn’t get any better than that.
MTA: You have had a successful career as corporate executive in the casino and resort industry, how will this help transcend to establishing a solid and successful Muay Thai promotion?
Scott Kent: I’ve been in the casino/resort business in Las Vegas for over twenty years and have developed amazing contacts in the business community. Las Vegas is my home and I want to use my knowledge of the casino business and utilize the friendships and contacts I have developed over the years in finding the best venues and creating an agreement that benefits the sport and the casino. That’s really the only way we can grow the sport is through these relationships. Michael Starr and Stuart Richey at Buffalo Bills Casino in Primm
MTA: What can you tell fans of Muay Thai to expect for Lion Fight Promotions?
Scott Kent: Christine and I are committed to bringing the best fights we can and we are calling on Muay Thai fans everywhere to come out and support Muay Thai and let’s give this sport the recognition it deserves.
It seems Lion Fight Promotions has some big plans for Muay Thai. Promotions come and go in this sport, but from what Mr. Kent has indicated, Lion Fight Promotions has a solid plan, and it seems they are ready for the long run rather than banking one one show, they already have 4 shows planned for 2011. Hopefully Christine Toledo, and Scott Kent can help take Muay Thai to the mainstream. It sounds like they are headed down the right path, and if you think Kent is just a guy in a suit, here is picture of Mr. Kent after training with Christine and Master Chan. It's good to see a CEO who is also a practitioner.