Lion Fights: Tiffany Van Soest discusses sponsorship landscape in Muay Thai

Image courtesy of Lion Fights

Lion Fights women's Muay Thai star, Tiffany Van Soest, discusses her quest for featherweight gold, upcoming bout with Lucy Payne, and the sponsor landscape in this great interview.

This Friday night, Lion Fights brings us another edition of great Muay Thai fights. The Las Vegas based promotion has been providing combat sports fans an alternative to the standard MMA fare we've accustomed ourselves to. One of the best parts about it though, is that they also feature female fights, and with them, a rising star in Tiffany Van Soest.

I've introduced our readers to Van Soest a few months back, and hope to refresh your memories with this brand new interview she did for MMA Sentinel with myself and my co-host, Iain Kidd. Here's what she had to say:

Opponent Lucy Payne

Her name is Lucy Payne, she fights out of England, she is Julie Kitchen's protege, she is 6 feet tall and I'm going to beat her.

I'm 5'4 on a good day, but you know, I'm in the gym training with all the guys, my team mates, and the majority of them are taller than me. They range from 5'10 to 6'5 and I spar with them all. Sparring taller opponents is nothing new to me.

She's the tallest opponent I've had, but my last opponent was 5'10 and I seemed to do OK against her, so this fight isn't any different. I've trained for it. I train for any and all kinds of situations, so whatever she has to throw at me? Let her try.

I've learned to use angles, learned how to move forwards and backwards, so I feel like she's no threat to me. She's going to use her legs, but I've trained for that, and with my karate background I've got a little something extra than your average Muay Thai fighter, so I feel confident going into this fight.


MMA

Muay Thai is my thing, it's what I do, it's my favorite aspect of MMA. It's my base. If I can make my living doing just Muay Thai, by making it just as popular as MMA, that would be ideal. I've received all of my opportunities so far through Muay Thai, and if they keep coming, I'm going to keep fighting Muay Thai, because that's where my heart is.

I still do train some MMA. I really like wrestling. Kenny Johnson, he's the wrestling coach at Black House where I train, and his way of teaching and being able to apply wrestling to MMA has made me fall in love with it, even more so than jiu-jitsu. I have definitely learned to love the wrestling aspect of Mixed Martial Arts.


Changing Weight Classes

It's just about where the opportunity is. I can get down to 122lbs no problem, I have a great nutritionist and a great team behind me. 126lbs is closer to my natural walking weight, so it's less of a cut, but like I've said, where the opportunities lie, that's where I'll take my fights.

Favorite Career Moment

My fight in October 2012, where I fought at 122lbs against Jeri Sitzes. It wasn't a knockout or anything, but it was a beautiful fight. I did everything I was supposed to do, I executed the game plan perfectly. It was my bodies expression of the hard work that I put into my training. It was my perfect fight.

Lion Fights & Other Opportunities

I just signed a four fight extension with Lion Fights. Lion Fights are the premier Muay Thai promotion this side of the globe, and it's an honor to fight for them. They're doing great things for the sport. If I got an opportunity with someone like Glory or K1, and Scott and Christine would be supportive, then I'd love to fight for those great organisations.

I'm a fighter, and I love to fight, so wherever my opportunities are, I want to take full advantage and get the most out of it.

People Trash Talking to Get Big Fights

Honestly, I think it should be about rankings. Rankings should take priority over who gets to fight who, but we are trying to get recognized as women, and if it attracts more attention, then you might have to sell out a little bit and trash talk. It's unfortunate, but sometimes it's necessary.

Exposure

The last two Lion Fights have been televised, and it's been great. The last two times I've fought, I've gotten between three and five hundred twitter followers overnight, which is pretty cool. It definitely brings more recognition to Muay Thai as well. Lions Fights being on AXS TV has been huge, and I'm really fortunate to be part of it.

Sponsorship Situation in Muay Thai

It sucks. It's hard, but the TV deal helps a lot. I recently teamed up with Bad Boy, which is great. I'm super stoked to be part of that team, especially because they are so well known in the MMA industry, and across the globe. Hopefully the TV deal and continued success will bring more big time sponsors like that.

For the most part, sponsors pay in gear and equipment, and gear is great, but it doesn't pay my bills [laughs]. Show us the money. We work just as hard as MMA fighters, and it's a shame that we don't get the same compensation from our sponsors. Everybody has a few good sponsors that back them, support them and do take care of them, but I'm sure I speak for the entire Muay Thai community of fighters when I say we would appreciate a little more financial support, rather than just gear and T-Shirts.

You can follow Tiffany via her Twitter account, @TiffTimeBomb

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