“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else”
“The noblest art is that of making others happy”
“Be cautious and bold”
After a quick search on Google I discovered that in the 1600s John Nutt was a notorious English pirate, who had raided the west of England and Canada. Now his (maybe) descendant is taking no prisoners, as he raids the previously unassailable dominance of the established rulers of MMA, such as the UFC, and others.
Jon Nutt is an imposing six-foot plus, and this frame is perfect for him as the ringmaster of his chosen profession of fight promoter. He is the founder and owner of Full Metal Dojo in Thailand and has gained an enthusiastic following in the Kingdom, while his fame is spreading further afield at an exponential rate, mostly due to Jon and his team’s expert use of social media … and the ever-important word of mouth from important ‘influencers’ whom Jon calls friends. Plus of course unbridled self-promotion, from which I expect nothing less from this larger-than-life character.
It was Jon’s mother who first encouraged his interest in martial arts at the age of eight, so by the time he had left college he had participated in Greco-Roman wrestling, and trained in Brazilian ju-jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, and Shotokan karate, as well as regular boxing.
After a relatively short career in contact sports, Jon became aware that he would probably never be a world champion fighter, and it was when he was handed a microphone for the first time, to comment on a boxing bout, that he realised almost immediately that this was what he was born to do.
The Jon Nutt we know in Thailand, the showman, whose energy seems to know no bounds, was born that day.
At my interview with Jon, I greeted him. “Hi Jon, How are you?”
“I’m amazing, every day,” was his reply. This was not bragging, it’s just Jon’s natural way, I soon realised. Jon is a force of nature who seems powered by a nuclear reactor, I knew I was going to enjoy my time spent with him.
Hi enthusiasm is infectious and I soon learnt that Jon – who has lived full-time in Thailand since 2007 with his Thai partner and family – believes that Thai fighters are the future of MMA in the lower weight divisions. He says, “The best striking martial art is Muay Thai, hands down. Karate and Tae Kwon Do don’t compare. Give me three to five years and I can guarantee that you will see fighters from Thailand on the world stage, and some of them will be UFC champions.”
Full Metal Dojo (FMD), Jon’s own company, promoting MMA action in Thailand is not one of the heavyweights (yet), and Jon knows this. But he says that pound for pound FMD is one of the best live-action shows around.
He is not focusing on the fat cats who only hang around to be seen. His market is for the real lovers of boxing and MMA, and if you go to one of his shows you will not forget it in a hurry.
At Illuzions nightclub, Patong Beach, Phuket. Live Streamed on Camsoda.
Don’t expect an ersatz Sunday afternoon’s laid-back viewing. This is full-on live, tooth-grinding madness, and the action gallops at a breakneck pace. The whole spectacle – from beginning to end – is electrifying, and you might even be as exhausted as the fighters by the end of it.
At the centre of all this is Jon Nutt, standing in the middle of everything, picked out by the spotlights, ramping up the excitement. No first takes, second takes, this is all live. No script. No cue-cards or teleprompter. It’s all spontaneous. The words just come spilling out of Jon, and even he doesn’t realise what he has said, sometimes, until he has seen a replay after the event. “Oh sh###, did I really say that?”
Don’t expect an ersatz Sunday afternoon’s laid-back viewing. This is full-on live, tooth-grinding madness, and the action gallops at a breakneck pace. Probably not recommended viewing for grandmothers or kids. As the live audiences down their beers and other drinks throughout the show they are watching, they never seem to notice how fast the time has gone, as Jon suddenly announces the final fight of the night. The whole spectacle – from beginning to end – is electrifying, and you might even be as exhausted as the fighters by the end of it.
Full Metal Dojo is perfect for Thailand, but is not the only venture that Jon is involved in. He is a clever businessman as well as being a mesmerising personality on stage. He is working on a more PG-13 friendly format, in the video games industry, the excitement will still be there, but the X-rated expletives will be missing. Look out for the impending launch of Kumite 3000, an FMD spin-off and a hybrid concept merging MMA with video gaming, and organised as a team tournament of nations. With the popularity of WWE games this concept of Jon’s focusing on MMA could well be the next big thing.
And bringing us right up to the present comes ‘Fight Circus’. I am lucky to have been in at the beginning and was invited by Jon to join the enthusiastic crowds at the first two Fight Circuses, which have been filmed in front of audiences in Thailand, and live-streamed to enthusiastic viewers in the ‘States and other countries.
The fighters are males, females, Thais, Middle East, American, British, South African, South American, and more. Look out for Ali, the ‘King of Kebabs’, and the rotund ‘Taengmo’ (watermelon), who are popular fighters in both FMD and Fight Circus.
Thailand and other foreign expats, or invited professionals.
And then there is a posse of dwarves who could easily have come from the circuses you loved as kids. They are costumed as your favourite Super Heroes; Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Thor, et al … and they are all pint-sized powerhouses. They give great encouragement to the fighters, and do a great job of whipping up the excitement for the audience.
he fighters are a mix … males, females, Thais, Middle East, American, British, South African, South American, and more. Look out for Ali, the ‘King of Kebabs’, and the rotund ‘Taengmo’ (watermelon), who are popular fighters in both FMD and Fight Circus. The matches usually cover three rounds, where one round is professional boxing rules, one MMA, and one is Muay Thai. All matches have licensed referees, and medical teams from local hospitals are always there with their nurses and doctors at the ringside.
The organisation partner streaming into the ‘States is Camsoda, and after the first Fight Circus was beamed it started to get noticed, with the second Fight Circus attracting a significant number of new subscribers.
Jon told me about his plans for Fight Circus III, coming soon this year, “Fight Circus is going to be huge, worldwide. I’m going to ramp things right up with Volume IIIs, with jugglers, fire artists, clowns, stilt walkers, everything. The fighters will be warriors, the girls will be hot, the beers will be cold. And watch out for the ‘Siamese Twins’ matchup,” he said with a smirk.
Intrigued, I asked him to tell me more, “Ahh, he said, come along and see, you don’t wanna miss Fight Circus Volume III.”
I’ll be there! Will you?