Kick-Thai MMA (KTMMA) is a newcomer to the British fight scene but is already making waves thanks to an innovative format: the first round of every fight is stand-up only, which allows fighters to showcase their striking skills and put on crowd-pleasing wars.
Former kickboxing champion Tim Izli explains the concept behind K-T MMA
If the fight ends in the first round, it will be because of a spectacular knockout or TKO. If it progresses to the second round, the fight continues under standard MMA rules, bringing grappling and wrestling skills into the mix.
If you’ve never been to a fight show before, or if you’re a newcomer to K-T MMA, I would say that ‘entertainment’ is the watchword.
K-T MMA’s format is the brainchild of Tim Izli, a former champion kickboxer and Muay Thai fighter with more than a decade’s experience in fight promotion. Izli, 49, fought for nearly twenty years and experienced considerable success before retiring and migrating into the promotional side of the business.
I love MMA and the fight format. But sometimes it can be difficult for the casual fan to get a handle on the groundwork. People who don’t train or who don’t follow fighting like we do can find themselves confused by the wrestling and jiu-jitsu element, particularly where there appears to be a stalemate, he says.
There’s a lot of cleverness going on down there but not everyone gets it. I’d seen that at numerous shows here and around the world. At the same time, whether you are a hardcore fan or a casual fan, the evidence is overwhelming that most people’s favourite type of fight is a good stand-up war.
So the K-T MMA format was developed with all of that in mind. I was trying to get into the mind of the spectator. I wanted a format which would provide maximum entertainment for the paying fan while at the same time giving the fighters to show their full range of skills.
Our first event was just a small showcase, a boutique event, but it was very well received and the reaction was very positive. And the same went for our first ‘proper’ event, K-T MMA 1, earlier this year. You’re always going to get some negativity as well but that’s fine, controversy is all good.
Overall people felt it was a really fun event and we feel very positive about it. The feedback was good and we’re confident we can go pretty far with this.
Izli expects the fights to be all-action, exactly as the K-T MMA format is designed to produce. But he is also happy to say that the in-ring action is merely the event’s crowning jewel. Presentation and audience enjoyment are key to Izli’s plans and that means a high standard of production.
If you’ve never been to a fight show before, or if you’re a newcomer to K-T MMA, I would say that ‘entertainment’ is the watchword. We like to make a show of it, we believe strongly in entertainment and that includes the venue itself. Lights, music – we want it to have some ‘wow’ factor when you walk in there, he says.
I want it to be striking when you go in there and a memorable evening, which might even include spotting a couple of celebrities ringside. We put a lot of effort into things. Even where we could widen a profit margin by leaving certain elements out, we would rather keep it in there and make a better show.