Some fighters fight for Bentleys, sheepskin jackets and snakeskin watches, Pongsiri Mitsatit (7-0) fights to keep his family alive.
The undefeated Thai fighter bought a truck for his family’s farm following his last win. He comes from a poor, hill-tribe family, and under the tutelage of Dylan Fussell at Team Quest, has used MMA to fight his way out of poverty.
He has combined a strong wrestling base with explosive, instinctive Muay Thai striking to overwhelm all his opponents thus far.
Tonight he fights in another career-defining fight, at Bangkok’s Impact arena with the MMA world watching, having spent ten months on the sidelines waiting for his next fight.
Although “Piak” is very gracious for his opportunity in Asia’s giant MMA promotion, this period of non-action means, as a full-time fighter, he has been unable to provide for his family during that time.
“Ten months away from fighting has been too long for me,” he said.
“I would like to fight as often as possible. It has given me a lot of time to develop my skills, but if ONE Championship is willing I would love to fight for them more often. If it was up to me I would like to fight at least three to four times a year so I can better provide for my family.”
Standing in his way is Filipino Rabin Catalan (4-2) and should Piak win, he knows where his money will be going.
“After this fight I hope to help pay for our land so my family can have a more secure future,” he said. “My mum and dad are very poor, every time I fight I give all my winnings to them.”
Piak has made a habit of winning in spectacular fashion so far in his MMA career, with quick finishes and he built his name in the Bangkok-based fight promotion Full metal Dojo, winning four straight fights before being picked-up by One Championship.
In 2015 he fought three times for FMD and rapidly rose to the top of Thailand’s MMA rankings, yet he only fought once last year in One Championship and is ready to make another statement.
“I’m very excited to showcase my skills at impact arena for the Thai fans, it’s the biggest stage in Thailand and perfect for me. I love a big crowd.
“I fight to finish and I want to give the Thai fans a beautiful fight. If we fight 1 minute or 15 minutes I don’t mind, but I want to finish my opponent.”