Behind the scenes, Kru Vivek Nakarmi has been working hard to make connections in the international mixed martial arts world — and all that work paid off last month when he received a call inviting him to compete in a Muay Thai fight in Thailand.
It was a moment he had been waiting for, but it was with little notice that he had to pack his bags and go.
“Everyone was surprised I had to leave on such short notice. But I said, ‘I have to seize it,’” Vivek said. “I’m in good shape, and I’ve been training well, so I said, ‘Let’s do it.’”
Fortunately, Vivek was able to make travel arrangements and arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a few days to spare. That decision to arrive early turned out to be invaluable, he said, since the travel, change in climate and time difference took a huge toll on his body.
“The first week was hard. I was so tired, and it was so hot,” he recalled.
Where some might take the time to explore and sightsee, Vivek was laser-focused on the fight ahead of him and being in the best shape possible. He was able to train at a friend’s gym in Chiang Mai ahead of the fight.
“I woke up in the morning, trained, went back to sleep, worked out in the afternoon, then trained some more, then ate, and that’s it,” he recalled. “I didn’t go anywhere, because I just wanted to focus on the fight and my training, and rest. That’s why I went out there early—I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be jet-lagged and tired later in the week.”
Vivek said he started to feel himself again by about the fourth day.
“I finally felt like my body was acclimated to the hotter climate, and I felt much better,” he said.
On the day of the fight—August 22—Vivek was motivated and proud as he gave a great weigh-in, coming in at 63 kilos, and feeling ready to give the fight of his life.
All his hard work and dedication paid off, quickly.
“It was a short fight—and I won in the second round,” he said proudly. “I knocked him out mid-second round with a teep kick,” he explained.
In addition to being his first Muay Thai fight in Thailand, Vivek’s victory is incredible because of how challenging his opponent was.
“The guy I fought was way more experienced than me, so I was very excited about that,” Vivek said.
As he gets back into the swing of things here at home and at Pentagon MMA, it’s not just his victory in Chiang Mai that has him excited; Vivek said he is pumped up by all the connections he made in the industry while he was there.
“It was a great experience. I met a lot of people in the Muay Thai circle like promoters and match makers, so it will mean great connections that I can share with all our students at Pentagon MMA,” he said. “It will open doors for everybody; now there are people I can connect them with, that I can say, ‘I trust these guys.’”
Vivek is also excited that Muay Thai promoters in Thailand are already talking about wanting him to come back for another fight, soon.
“They saw me, now they know me, and now they want me to go back. So I’m looking to hopefully go back next year,” Vivek said. “They said I might even be able to do a Northern Thailand championship fight if I can give them another two or three good fights, which is a big deal for a foreigner in Thailand. So it was a good opportunity for me to meet all the promoters and officials there and make the relationships for the future.”
Once his fight was over, Vivek did finally take some time for himself. Instead of heading straight home, Vivek left Thailand for his home country of Nepal, to visit family that still lives there. He said he was excited that it was only a short 2 ½ -hour trip from Bangkok to Kathmandu, where he grew up and lived until he moved to the U.S. at 14 years old.
“I got to see my sisters for the first time in around five or six years,” he said. “It was great to catch up with them. It was a fun overall trip. I got to do some sightseeing, and just spending time with family.”