By IMMAF.org lead writer and photographer, Jorden Curran
The world renowned Tiger Muay Thai & MMA gym first launched its Team Tryouts program in 2012. The scholarship initiative, which includes coverage of training, food and accommodation, is open to worldwide applicants and sees the annual hunt to find new up and coming talent that provides standout athletes with a life changing opportunity at the Phuket facility in Thailand.
Tiger Muay Thai is among the world’s most recognizable and diverse training camps, and plays host to a plethora of MMA’s best throughout the year. The Team Trials welcome 40 athletes chosen from thousands of applications. Episode 1 of the 2018 documentary series was released last week, and featured athletes from nations including the USA, Czech Republic, Kenya, UK and Algeria.
2017 IMMAF world champion, Quitin Thomas, was among the 40 chosen participants. The 26-year-old, who earned the gold medal last year in the men’s lightweight division of the IMMAF World Championships, was also joined by France’s 2015 women’s bantamweight silver medalist, Lucie Bertaud.
IMMAF was incredibly proud to see the announcement that Thomas was one of seven participants to earn a place with the Tiger Muay Thai team. Winners of the Tiger Team Trials have developed the reputation of going on to achieve success at the highest levels of pro MMA, including flyweight competitor, Ben Nguyen, who is now ranked 11th in the UFC’s 125lb division, having capitalized on the Tiger Trials as a final effort to sustain his MMA career.
In 2017 Thomas secured three victories at the UMMAF National Championships Tournament, earning his place on Team USA for the IMMAF Amateur World Championships in Bahrain.
Thomas, took the men’s lightweight division by storm, securing five back-to-back unanimous decision triumphs against leading amateurs from the UK, Australia, Canada and Albania en route to besting Belarusian Vitaly Andrukovich in the finals to earn gold for the USA. While managing the distance and frequently completing takedowns, the IMMAF newcomer showed glimpses of an inner ferocity and high awareness for coaching instructions that gave him the edge in later stages of the championships.