Meet Full Metal Dojo’s Promoter, Fighter, and In House Singer
Jon Nutt is much more than just the promoter of the brand new Thai organization Full Metal Dojo. If you’ve been to any of the three shows so far, you will have heard him performing a variety of songs inside the cage and next February he will also be fighting on his own card.
He’s a man of many talents, among them the ability to perform a fluent rendition of the Thai royal anthem, something which he does before every event. The American says he is simply motivated by a desire to grow the sport of MMA in his adopted home,
“Why did I start the most awesome Dojo on the Planet? Why did I start the Full Metal Dojo? Because having a party is a great time right? And having a party where people fight in a controlled manner is a really great time. That, and I feel like Thailand needs an MMA organization that holds regularly scheduled events in a fun and rock star like manner but when it really gets down to it, I do it because it's awesome.”
Giving standardized soundbites might not be his strong point, but Nutt, who hails from Boston and has been living in Thailand for over a decade, is one of the less conventional MMA promoters around.
Perhaps that’s why he’s not content with just hiring a venue, putting together a card and singing a few songs. On Full Metal Dojo 4, which is set for Bangkok on February 21st, he will be fighting fellow American Musa Conteh for reasons he explains as follows,
“How that came about is there are not enough large bodied fighters in Asia, and I'm kinda one, plus I know that there are a few big guys out there looking for fights and by getting Musa on the map maybe we can get some more big guy action out here in South East Asia. I'm really just doing this for fun and I don't plan on having loads of fights or becoming a champ or anything, I'm just a guy that has done Muay Thai for the last decade and I like to stand and kick people in the head.”
Both men have a single fight to their name, and Nutt is 0-1 while his opponent is 1-0, but the man from Boston says that competing inside the cage is easy in comparison to the trials and tribulations he faces as a promoter,
“The hard part is still promoting, changing people’s hearts and minds so they stop watching football, and start watching fighting. That's the tough part but you don't have to love fights to come to my show. It's a party that just happens to have MMA fights at it, it's a really fun time.”
Nutt comes across as being more extroverted than efficient but he and his team have managed to put on three events in five months, which is a solid start by the standards of almost any MMA promotion.
The first two took place in Phuket while the last Full Metal Dojo card was in Bangkok. This city will play host to the next one too. While fun has definitely been had at the three shows so far, it has not exactly been a non stop party for Nutt who admits it’s been a stressful period in his life,
“It was very tough to do. I'm a cool cat and can deal with pretty much any situation but man there is some good stress going on at times. It may look easy but the business of MMA is not easy. I love what I do and I am still having fun, but yeah man, throwing events is a pretty hard thing to do.”
FMD 4: ‘No Sleep ‘til Bangkok’ took place on November 22nd and was headlined by a bout between Afghanistan’s Baz Mohammed Mubariz and Dylan Fussell from the USA and was greeted by a raucous crowd.
A sizeable contingent of Afghans bought tickets specifically to come and support Mubariz, while there were plenty of Americans in attendance to either corner fighters, or compete themselves. The atmosphere was intense.
Mubariz made a fast start but couldn’t maintain the momentum, and collapsed with exhaustion at the end of the second round as Fussell was declared the winner. It was a memorable moment and one which Nutt says will live long in his memory,
“Man, that was some real life Rocky Balboa versus Ivan Drago type of stuff right there, the most intense atmosphere I have ever felt at an MMA show. And I think that's saying something. And man, when the Afghanistan flags were flying and the chants of "USA" were being screamed. It was really electric.”
The three cards that Nutt has promoted to date have mainly featured local fighters as well as a few foreigners from the many MMA gyms in Thailand. Full Metal Dojo has given up-and-coming mixed martial artists a platform on which to perform, and the man behind it lists one name for fans to look out for,
“His real name is Kritsada (Konsrichai) and I forget how to say his last name, but we call him ‘Dream Man’ and if he stays the course he will be amazing in the future. He's on the Thai national wrestling team and throws people around like they're nothing. He'll go to ONE FC in the future for sure.”
And according to Nutt there is plenty more Thai talent in the pipeline,
“I also really like Noom (Chatmongkhon Simma) from Ubon Ratchatani, I think he puts on great fights and he’s very fun to watch. Man, there is actually a lot of talented Thai fighters. The list is long and if you start paying attention to the FMD shows you'll learn who the top Thai MMA fighters are.”
Tiger Muay Thai has developed into one of the most successful martial arts training centers anywhere in the world and in recent years many more camps have sprung up offering MMA instruction in the country including Legacy Gym, Phuket Top Team, 301 Muay Thai, AKA and Team Quest.
That gives Full Metal Dojo a permanent pool of fighters who are based full time in Thailand, and potentially many more who are just passing through for a few weeks to train. Nutt cannot speak highly enough of the country he has called home for almost half his life,
“Seriously, in terms of value for money note and quality of life, Thailand is the best place on earth to live and train. If you like to punch and kick stuff then do yourself a favor. Go to Thailand. Just go. Do it. Buy a ticket and go. That is all.”
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