To anyone who knows anything about the sport of Muay Thai in its homeland, you will be well aware of the sketchiness that surrounds it.
What happened yesterday may be a new low for the sport.
At Rajadamnern Stadium, Bangkok, the popular Sangmanee Sor Tienpo, formerly ranked among the very best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport and still a mainstay at the top of fight cards, finished a tough fight with Hong Thanonchai Thor. Sangtiannoi.
This was their fourth bout, and after a typically action packed back-and-forth bout, Thanonchai won the decision.
Nothing peculiar there. But what transpired afterwards becomes more sickening the more you discover about it.
After the bout, Sangmanee, just seventeen years old, showed seizure-like symptoms. He was rushed to the hospital, and several Muay Thai publications in Bangkok are reporting that Doctors are saying he got there just in the nick of time.
While it wouldn't be surprising if the tough schedule of a top Muay Thai fighter would eventually bring a tragic end to a fighters life, what has come to light after Sangmanee's hospitalisation is much more sinister.
Sangmanee was not suffering from an injury inflicted in the ring. Doctors have confirmed that he was poisoned, and that if he hadn't been admitted when he was he might have died due to kidney failure.
For now, Sangmanee is still under close observation. What happens next is not yet clear.
The scariest part of this story is that this isn't the first instance of a fighter being poisoned this year.
Two fighters from the Kwanmuang gym, Seksan and Petch U Thong, collapsed before their bouts could take place this summer. They were doped, and although no motive was established, the theory of this writer is that it was done by someone looking to make money on a bet, which is sadly what the sport of Muay Thai is based around.
Sangmanee, a poster boy and teen idol in Thailand, is without a doubt the most high profile case to date of this disgusting aspect the sport.
I offer no speculation of Sangmanee's situation, but it's clear that the poison didn't take full effect until after his bout had taken place. When, where and how he was poisoned will likely never be established.
Bloody Elbow wishes him a speedy and full recovery. Let's focus on what makes Muay Thai great, the fights, and celebrate Sangmanee's incredible performance against Thanonchai.