Lethwei fighting: The next big sport or passing fad?
April 19, 2021
Lethwei has the potential to be the next big name in combat sports, alongside boxing and MMA. Native to the nation of Myanmar, this particularly violent martial art has recently seen a rise in popularity. This martial art is very similar to Muay Thai, although it features some major differences. For instance, gloves are not used, fights are until someone is knocked out, and headbutts are allowed and used often. Lethwei is also known as the art of nine limbs, in reference to the hands, elbows, knees, feet, and head. These make up the attacks used in this Burmese bare-knuckle sport. The international scene of this sport has developed rapidly, with the World Lethwei Championship having existed for less than half a decade.
The sport has gathered a respectful gathering despite a lack of mainstream appeal, with some streams and shows passing a million views. This can be partially attributed to Lethwei being introduced to western audiences through one of the sport’s most prolific fighters: Dave Ludec. He has been trying to bring the sport into the main stream more and more, such as bringing lethwei to UFC fight pass and discussing it on the Joe Rogan Experience. It isn’t entirely clear if Lethwei will stick around and become the new MMA or if it is simply a passing fad. Perhaps in the coming months and years it will become a fully fleshed out sport in western society.