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SLAMM!! ‘Nederland vs. Thailand IV’ road report

By Zach Arnold | March 9, 2008

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Written by Adam Underhill

SLAMM!! “Nederland vs. Thailand IV”
02/03/08 START 13:00

In the small ever-developing borough of Almere, thousands of fight fans from across the world attended the Topsportcentrum in the desolate lands of this uninhabited Dutch town, to watch the biggest show on the kick-boxing calendar in the Netherlands. Holland’s biggest fight promotion ‘SLAMM!!’ held their fourth instalment of their ‘Nederland vs. Thailand’ series alongside upstart MMA promotion M-1 Global in what would be an arduous ten-hour marathon of mixed martial arts and kick-boxing action. The majority of the card was occupied by the Dutch regulars and the top Muay Thai boxers from Thailand, while the M-1 portion contained fighters from all over the Continent in what would be the inaugural ‘M-1 Challenge’ series of events. We certainly received our money’s worth, if you’re counting Euros or dollars per fight, that’s for sure!

Getting to the arena itself was an M-1 challenge in its own right! We set off in plenty of time as the show was advertised to start at 13:00, and had no idea why they would start the show so early. After a thirty minute train journey from Amsterdam Centraal to Almere Muziekwijk, the nearest station from the arena, my colleague and I ended up in the ghost-town like village of Almere with not a taxi or bus in sight. The only phone numbers I had were for taxis around the city over twenty kilometres away. We met a guy at the bus stop called Jason from New York who is the match-maker for a successful gym called “Church Street Boxing Gym”. He was trying to make his way to the show too so he joined us on our pursuit. We were able to take a bus as close as we could get and then eventually a five-minute shuttle ride to the arena. We arrived just shy of 12:00 as they began to open to doors.

As an aspiring athlete and mixed martial artist myself I need my constant supply of nutrients and calories, so I bought some sandwiches and other snacks from the train station kiosk to stop myself getting hungry during the show. The first thing the door staff confiscated was my bag full of goods. No food or drink in any shape or form was allowed in the arena. No photography was allowed either, as the door staff insisted that Jason threw his digital camera out into the trash. It was a good thing I concealed mine rather well. We walked in and Jason was immediately directed downstairs towards ringside by the security staff. Little did he know that his manager back in New York had sorted him a ticket for one of the floor tables just feet from the action; complete with champagne, confectionary, and exotic meals at every interval. My colleague and I passed through the entrance, surrendered our tickets to the door staff, and were free to find our seats and buy any refreshments we desired, or so we thought.

When submitting our tickets to the door staff, we were expecting the stub back so we could locate our seating. Instead we were left in the arena challenging the other few hundred spectators that arrived early in an all-out riot for the decent seats. With about forty percent of the Topsportcentrum full just before bell-time we managed to find a good position, but knew we couldn’t both leave unless we wanted our seats to be taken. You could not even purchase any condiments with your cash. You had to take your money to a table set up by the entrance to convert your Euros into tokens. With these extortionate tokens you could then pay for hamburgers, soda, cheese sandwiches, and even tap water. Even the toilet facilities cost fifty cents a visit. What a great way to swindle your loyal and dedicated fans!

The main “Nederland vs. Thailand” spectacle did not commence until seven that evening. After six straight hours of fight after fight, some great fights with a few awfully second-rate, we were pretty fatigued to say the least, but we were only just half way through the show. Hungry, tired, we decided to stay and watch the rest of the card being the hardcore fans that we are. I’m not travelling all the way over here only to leave early.

Most of the fights, both MMA and kick-boxing, were of a good quality and were very competitive. The respect that was shown by the Dutch crowd during the traditional Nak Muay dance before each fight was incredible. Their love for the sport of kick-boxing really prevailed as they embraced every Thai fighter and gave them the time to do what was necessary. The show was an absolute sell-out, with pretty much every seat filled and fans crowded against the barriers that run at high-level around the arena. With the “Nederland vs. Thailand” series all but concluded, the audience anticipated the main attraction of Lumpinee champion and ‘The Contender Asia’ participant Yodsaenklai Fairtex versus arguably the most popular Dutch kick-boxer right now in Andy Souwer. With the main event only moments away, the MC steadily took to the microphone.

We had been at the show now for over eight hours and counting. Eighteen fights later the entire audience assumed the Yodsaenklai/Souwer fight would be next. Little did we all know that the promotion would now be displaying part two of the M-1 Challenge series, which involved five more fights prior to the main attraction. In an instant, fifty percent of the enduring spectators left the Topsportcentrum in displeasure. We had all waited long enough and I could understand their predicament. Poor organisation on the part of SLAMM and M-1 Global. Fortunately the next batch of M-1 fights were extremely quick, with most ending in a first round knockout, so we did not have to wait any longer for the fight that most of us paid to see. The fight went the initial three rounds to a draw and then an extra round with Souwer eventually winning over the judge’s decision; a realistic outcome but there was very little between these two great fighters.

Overall I had an incredible excursion to the Netherlands and the event flowed very well for the amount of fights on the card. It would have been sensible to have split both organisations up into their own respected timeslots (M-1 Global in the afternoon, then the SLAMM event in the early evening) as this would have saved a lot of confusion and perplexity among fans. It was a real shame that the majority of fans left before the Souwer fight, as the atmosphere could have been all the more heated, but even so it was not disappointing in the slightest. If you plan to attend one of these shows in the future, be sure to take plenty of Euros for those damned tokens, and try to find out the card listing beforehand. If we had known that the main card would start at seven, we wouldn’t have got there so early! It was a great show, with plenty of big names at ringside and walking around the arena. If you live in Europe and are a fan of MMA and/or Thai boxing, then get yourself along!

Topics: M-1, Media, MMA | 1 Comment » | Permalink | Trackback |

One Response to “SLAMM!! ‘Nederland vs. Thailand IV’ road report”

  1. ttt says:

    great to see some coverage of the SLAMM event even though a week late. sucks that the M-1 fights dragged things longer. unfortunately the only video of the main fight online was quite blurry and difficult to determine who was the winner

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