Muay Thai fights to put Fremont Street Experience in national spotlight


Finally, a Fremont Street fight that will be legal, sanctioned, supervised and televised live.

Welcome to “Lion Fight 11” at the Fremont Street Experience, the downtown Las Vegas five-block pedestrian tourist attraction where some of the world’s premier Muay Thai fighters will exchange punches and kicks on a Friday night in September. Muay Thai pugilists are strictly stand-up strikers and do not grapple on the ground like mixed martial arts combatants.

The Sept. 20 fight show, to be held in a ring in front of the Third Street Stage outside The D casino-hotel, is being billed as the first sports event to be nationally televised live from the Fremont Street Experience.

Las Vegas-based Lion Fight Promotions plans to sell 1,700 tickets, including 1,200 for reserved seating. Tickets will range from $25 to $95.

AXS, a cable network, will televise the Fremont Street fights, including one bout that will match two of the sport’s biggest names — Tetsuya Yamato, a Muay Thai Japanese world champion, against Kevin Ross, an American Muay Thai superstar.

AXS is a sports and entertainment network that broadcasts Muay Thai fights, comedy acts, concerts and Dan Rather news reports. Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, owns AXS. The network has a potential audience of 42 million viewers.

“The fact that it will be on Mark Cuban’s television station and getting national attention will be exciting,” said Derek Stevens, owner of The D, an event sponsor that helped stage an amateur boxing fight at the same spot in April.

Andrew Simon, AXS chief executive, said he’s already surveyed the site.

“It’s an iconic location, and we’re going to have the lights and the glitz and the views on camera that night,” Simon said. “Our viewers are going to say, ‘Man, that’s the Fremont Street Experience.’ It’s a national tourism destination. This is a great way to show off the downtown to a national audience.”

Stevens said Yamatos’ presence on the card can bring international attention, too.

“We hope it will bring some national publicity and international publicity with the Japanese champion fighting on the card,” Stevens said. “We think it’ll be good for downtown, so we’ll give it a shot.”

Scott Kent, Lion Fight Promotions president and chief executive, said he was impressed with the Fremont Street location when he saw the amateur boxing fight staged there in April. Kent decided to hold his Lion Fight event there when his usual venue — The Joint arena at the Hard Rock Hotel — had a schedule conflict.

“I thought it would look amazing on TV,” Kent said of Fremont Street Experience.

Kent said the fight ring will be in a fenced area in front of the Third Street Stage, with three entry points, including one from The D.

“Being a Vegas guy, this event made perfect sense to me,” Kent said. “I always loved downtown. The visual experience would be good for branding our Lion Fight shows and this will show another group of fans our amazing sport . . . I appreciated Derek (Stevens) taking some chances and trying some different things, and that’s good for everyone.”

Kent said staging the fights will cost more than $100,000.

Fremont Street Experience officials, who manage the entertainment along the five-block stretch, are stoked about the live, televised fights.

“Muay Thai is a very exciting action show,” said Tom Bruny, Fremont Street Experience marketing director. “It’s something new for us to do. The TV aspect was compelling for the Fremont Street Experience.”

Tickets are on sale online at www.theD.com or The D Box Office at 702-388-2111.

Contact reporter Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273.

 

Rules for posting comments

Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Stephens Media LLC or this newspaper. This is a public forum. Read our guidelines for posting. If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon next to the comment.