Muay Thai and Kickboxing Promotion in the UAE Proposal


Over the recent past, the world has witnessed tremendous growth in various parts, which comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Remarkably, the UAE has grown to join some of the most developed regions of the globe owing to its good leadership and wise use of resources. Due to the crucial milestones evidenced in the UAE, some sports initially reserved for other parts are steadily gaining popularity. Recently, games such as kickboxing and Muay Thai have slowly crept into the states that form the UAE. Although such games are common in the Asian continent, the Emirates citizens have adopted them. The emergence of these sports has a close link with the broad spectrum of individuals residing in the UAE who come from various parts of the globe.

The diversity has occasioned the rise of such sports. Besides the multiplicity, Muay Thai and kickboxing have benefits that led to their increased impetus soon after introduction into the UAE. The challenges faced by people in the states that make up the Emirates elevated the love and passion towards Muay Thai and kickboxing. Due to the growing enthusiasm among the people in the UAE towards kickboxing and Muay Thai, stakeholders developed a confederation that oversees and promotes the sport. Some of the strategies that are useful in escalating the level of its practice in the region include using social media, developing high-end gyms, targeting individuals from all segments, engaging in competitive analysis, and assessing the value of sport in the area. Before promoting the game, it is essential to understand the various benefits and challenges experienced by the UAE Kickboxing and Muay Thai Confederation.

Muay Thai and Kickboxing in the UAE

Muay Thai and kickboxing have long histories that date back to several centuries. The two sports have some similarities and people usually mistake them to be a single game. However, while kickboxing has limitations, Muay Thai utilizes all the eight techniques of fighting. Andreato and Branco (2016) explain that in kickboxing, competitors cannot use their knees and elbows, whereas Muay Thai permits the use of all the four parts of the body, which include the hands, elbows, knees, and feet. Therefore, while kick-boxers can only kick and punch their opponents, Muay Thai players can also use knees and elbows to tackle their rivals. The love for the sport has seen it evolve and adopt different styles that comprise Chinese and American kickboxing.

Notably, while some people classify Muay Thai as a different sport from kickboxing, it is notable to allude that the game appears to be a subset of Kickboxing. The rise of the competition and its variant, Muay Thai, in the UAE attracted the interest of several individuals in the world. The establishment of the UAE Kickboxing and Muay Thai Federation is one of the indicators that the game is gradually gaining popularity in the area. Some international competitors outlined by the UAE Kickboxing and Muay Thai Federation include Ilyass and Noureddine Samir (UAE Muay Thai & Kick Boxing Federation 2017). The goals advanced by the confederation comprise amplifying the popularity of the game within the UAE and training kick-boxers who can compete internationally.

Benefits of Kickboxing and Muay Thai in the UAE

Kickboxing and Muay Thai have several physical and economic benefits. Some of these advantages include the reduction of stress and enhancement of blood circulation. On the other hand, the economic merits comprise a decrease in unemployment rates, as well as the improvement of the country’s income and reputation. These benefits are among the factors that coin the rising importance of the game in the region. The establishment of numerous gyms and training centers where people can learn the techniques used in kickboxing substantiates the fact that the benefits derived from the sport have spread to the citizens around the UAE. While high adherence to Islamic doctrines characterizes the region, the competition, which has its roots in the Asian continent, has grown irrespective of these cultural differences associated with its origins. The growth of the game justifies the love that people residing in the UAE have towards kickboxing and Muay Thai.

Physical Benefits

Stress Reduction and Enhanced Blood Circulation

Kickboxing and Muay Thai are among the sports that are useful in tackling stress in societies. The issues brought about by modern demands often place people in challenging situations and under a lot of pressure. Due to the high intensity and the anxiety linked to meeting datelines, several people in developed regions such as the UAE demonstrate high levels of stress as opposed to those who live in growing areas. However, when these individuals engage in kickboxing workouts, stress diminishes owing to the full-body concentration that the sport demands. Besides, these games help a person to release the pressure by engaging all the body parts, which comprise the legs, elbows, knees, and hands (Andreato & Branco 2016). A full-body workout of such kind is vital in reducing the amount of pressure associated with modern-day individuals.

Another significant benefit derived from kickboxing and Muay Thai workout is enhanced blood circulation. Studies from Attlee et al. (2017) reveal that several individuals in the UAE are obese. The increasing number of overweight individuals in the UAE is a sign that they could soon be victims of cardiovascular complications and other lifestyle diseases. Fundamentally, to tackle such issues, there is a need to promote kickboxing because people who engage in the sport manage obesity as they enjoy a full-body workout. Ouergui et al. (2014) note that when individuals punch and kick the equipment available in kickboxing and Muay Thai gyms, they release unwanted calories off their bodies and gradually achieve the required body sizes free from cardiovascular complications. The eventuality of reduced calories is an unhindered flow of blood all over the body, a condition that is elusive in several contemporary societies. The realization that kickboxing and Muay Thai can enhance the flow of blood in the body compelled several people in the United Arab Emirates to practice the game.

Economic Advantages

Reduced Unemployment and Improvement of the Region’s Income and Reputation

Contemporary societies are dealing with the challenge of unemployment that has affected all nations across continents. While the problem is less intricate in developing countries, places like the UAE that witness massive immigration have become subjects of ballooning unemployment. Some of these unemployed citizens have untapped kickboxing and Muay Thai talents. In instances of optimum exploitation of their capabilities, these individuals will not only take the Emirates to greater heights in comparison to other regions but will also enjoy the gains accrued from self-employment. Notably, sports enable millions of people globally to earn incomes that sustain them and facilitate the recruitment of other assistants who benefit indirectly. Therefore, promoting kickboxing in the UAE is a step towards reducing unemployment among the competitors as well as indirect beneficiaries. Due to the rising popularity of kickboxing and Muay Thai, the region has witnessed an augmenting number of gyms and training centers that hire people to provide classes, maintain the facilities, and supply refreshments to the trainees. The intensity of employment offered by the gyms is a clear example that the game has untapped benefits that can help in solving the unending unemployment in the UAE.

Another benefit that can transpire in the case of the full utility of kickboxing in the UAE is the improvement of the region’s income and reputation. Some parts of the world owe their fame and royalties to sporting events. Van Den Berg and Braun (2017) cite places such as Manchester and Barcelona as some of the famous sporting destinations in the world. The high recognition relates to the long and persistent strides made by leaders in these cities to develop the football games with the intent of attaining international standards. Therefore, the desire to promote kickboxing and Muay Thai in the UAE is well informed and can be useful in propelling the region to fame and international recognition. Significantly, the high incomes that some parts of the world earn accrue from sporting activities, a phenomenon that can also materialize in the UAE. When the region promotes kickboxing and Muay Thai, it will place itself in a better position to market the sport and host it. Besides, by being a leader in the game, the region will serve as an example and a pacesetter before other nations and states of the world.

Challenges experienced by Kickboxing and Muay Thai federation in UAE

Cultural Diversity and Inadequate Facilities

One of the significant problems that could hamper the progress of kickboxing and Muay Thai in the UAE is the strict adherence that the citizens have towards Islamic doctrines. While a religious orientation is among the freedoms that all should exercise, Islam limits the participation of women in various activities, which include sports (Laar et al. 2018). The implication of devotion is a limited number of female participants, especially from the native communities in games such as kickboxing.

On the other hand, religion also increases the level of reluctance as people focus on other issues. Some of the Arabian inhabitants believe that games that entail kicking and punching opponents propagate violence. As such, several average income individuals are unwilling to enroll in kickboxing centers. It is fundamental to explain that strict obedience to the provisions of the Holy Quran renders some members of the AUE reluctant to undertake any new activities introduced by non-natives.

Another challenge that confronts the Kickboxing and Muay Thai Confederation in the UAE is inadequate facilities. UAE Muay Thai and Kick Boxing Federation (2017) explain that students who shine in universities cannot progress because they do not access the necessary facilities that furnish them with a high-end expertise in the respective games. According to the explanation, lots of learning institutions have empty stadiums owing to the limited facilities that render most of the games executed by the athletes substandard and less intriguing. Therefore, while the kickboxing and Muay Thai Confederation tries to market the game in the region, it often encounters the challenge of inadequate facilities. Notably, although the confederation can engage in extensive promotional campaigns, the UAE must ensure that the facilities match the required standards. Limited availability of the modern equipment hampers the attainment of the confederation’s goal that revolves around the development of international talent in kickboxing and Muay Thai.

Promoting Kickboxing and Muay Thai in the UAE

Using Social Media

Recently, online platforms have become popular and are steadily outsmarting offline sites. An increasing number of companies are turning their attention to places such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in a bid to increase their market share. The cutthroat competition witnessed in modern society has amplified the growing popularity of social platforms. Besides organizational rivalry, technological advancements have made social sites trendy among numerous marketing companies around the globe. Due to the progress, access to the internet has become efficient and speedy. Katz (2015) asserts that modern service providers can facilitate speeds of up to 4G that enable their subscribers to access the internet effortlessly. The introduction of smartphones has improved access to the internet and other social sites such as WhatsApp.

Smartphones are useful in executing almost all roles associated with laptops and desktop computers. Therefore, modern individuals can access the internet swiftly and conveniently. Sending and receiving emails, Facebook messages, as well as YouTube videos, has become less complicated and people can engage in the activity in the comfort of their houses, workplaces, or while traveling. The ease in access to the internet and other social platforms has transformed the world into a global village where people interact and share information irrespective of their distant locations (Katz 2015). Due to the transformation, endorsements from opinion leaders can have dire effects on companies that fail to adhere to the dynamics. Some organizations have closed their operations because they did not watch and move with the technological changes in the market.

Therefore, in a bid to improve the scale of awareness on the essence of kickboxing in the UAE, stakeholders need to turn their attention to social media. The massive number of subscribers who use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube is a factor that the people intending to market kickboxing and Muay Thai cannot downplay. Social media is a method that promoters of kickboxing and Muay Thai can utilize to reach out to thousands of potential customers across the UAE. When the confederation uses endorsements from renowned artists on social platforms, they can win the hearts of potential customers and increase the reputation of kickboxing. The recent policies introduced by the UAE that license influencers is a milestone in the online sector. According to Attlee et al. (2017), the UAE intends to regulate the use of social media so that influencers get the benefits associated with their followership. Remarkably, the regulations enable the confederation to identify opinion leaders in social sites and use them to convey their message appropriately to millions of subscribers and followers across the region.

While some people think that the new regulations will curb the progress of social media, the decision has the right foundations. The focus of the policies is to minimize instances where endorsements from opinion leaders fail to yield the desired outcomes. Sometimes, large companies use pages of famous individuals to market their products without paying them. In some cases, focus individuals use their pages to promote a product when the subscribers are unaware that the act took place after these individuals received payment from the subject enterprises (Katz 2015). Through social platforms, Kickboxing and Muay Thai Confederation in the UAE can market its policies, goals, and benefits of the sport to the vast amount of people residing in and outside the region. By doing so, they will gain popularity and increase the number of people intending to register at the numerous training gyms and centers in the Emirates. The promotional message from the confederation should be creative and appealing so that it catches the attention of the viewers and remains in their memories.

Use of Mainstream Media

Another important media that can help in increasing the scale of awareness on matters concerning kickboxing and Muay Thai is the use of the mainstream platform. Although several people can check the internet and follow endorsements from opinion leaders, some conservative members of the society may not believe the messages conveyed using these sites. Attlee et al. (2017) allude that since the purpose of the UAE Kickboxing and Muay Thai Confederation is to promote the sport to all citizens in the region, they must use universally accepted media. The high reluctance exhibited by some people towards the information relayed by social sites stems from the absence of credibility associated with numerous messages posted by individuals without prior review. On several occasions, people pick and share data on their pages without examining if they are factual or reliable, a phenomenon that has severely affected the quality of data relayed through social media.

Therefore, using platforms such as television, radio, and newspapers is essential in elevating the number of people who love and participate in kickboxing and Muay Thai games in the UAE. When conservative individuals see or hear the adverts from mainstream media, they believe that the sport is credible and information shared on social media is authentic (Andreato & Branco 2016). It is fundamental to explain that while people can get initial data from social platforms, a majority of them usually seek clarification and confirmation from mainstream media. As such, a combination of social and mainstream platforms is a milestone in the confederation’s quest to promote Muay Thai and kickboxing in the UAE. The two types of media also enable the confederation to increase awareness that the people residing in the region have regarding kickboxing and Muay Thai.

Provision of High-End Equipment and Modern Gyms

Besides using social media to create awareness and promote kickboxing and Muay Thai in the UAE, the confederation and stakeholders in the industry should examine the quality of equipment available by gyms around the region. The focus of the examination of the facilities is to ensure that the gyms have a full set of equipment required for high-end kickboxing and Muay Thai competitions. Significantly, the confederation should not limit the training programs but can outsource them to qualified individuals and make sure that their gyms have the right and complete facilities. Just like in other sectors, modern clients review the quality of services they receive in gyms whenever they register or visit and make future decisions. Attlee et al. (2017) allude that the high rate of globalization in the world implies that people can access information on the most sophisticated kickboxing and Muay Thai facilities and visit the gyms expecting to see them.

However, since some of the facilities are absent in various training centers, these potential clients leave and fail to turn up again. Additionally, some visitors to the UAE are from regions with the most advanced kickboxing and Muay Thai sports (Ouergui 2014). These foreigners may want to share their experiences with the residents who visit gyms and training centers in the region. Conversely, upon their first visit to these centers, the foreigners come across outdated or malfunctioning facilities. The encounter pushes the visitors away from the centers and denies the natives the rare chance of witnessing high-end workouts from experienced individuals.

Therefore, the UAE Kickboxing and Muay Thai Confederation must focus on the quality of facilities availed by training centers. Although some gyms have modern equipment, more needs to take place, especially in learning institutions where students nurture their talents. Failing to provide the right apparatus in learning institutions creates a gap between those in workplaces and students. While the elders practice in gyms, students do not access the right equipment and fail to acquire proper training. As such, when students complete their education, catching up with the rest in society becomes complicated. Andreato and Branco (2016) note that at times, students who could be smart in kickboxing and Muay Thai fail to succeed because they learn the sport after school. Furthermore, Van Den Berg and Braun (2017) elucidate that in some European countries, leaders provide the necessary equipment to foster talent and ensure that the citizens get the training required right from their time in primary institutions of learning. With the right facilities and modern gyms, the process of creating awareness and promoting kickboxing in the UAE region becomes successful and less taxing.

Essentially, enjoyment of the full benefits associated with kickboxing takes effect only when the equipment availed in the training centers match the modern standards. When individuals visit the gyms to get the desired outcomes, they are often disappointed because the facilities presented by the trainers do not meet the standards and do not give them the anticipated comfort. The absence of equipment that matches client expectations makes it difficult for the confederation to market the game to UAE residents.

Due to the inconsistencies witnessed in some gyms, people may think that the information provided by the stakeholders in the kickboxing and Muay Thai fraternity is false. As such, it is wise for the confederation to monitor the activities and facilities in the gyms and training centers so that they understand what customers experience whenever they visit the respective facilities. UAE Muay Thai and Kickboxing Federation (2017) explain that by monitoring the centers and getting the accurate picture, the confederation can tailor its campaigns in a manner that meets the expectations of the potential clients. Consequently, stakeholders in the kickboxing and Muay Thai sector can then work together with the facilities to ensure that the services delivered are up to the desired levels.

Targeting All Segments

In several communities, people think that workouts, especially those related to kickboxing and Muay Thai suit young individuals. The misguided perception has made it difficult for stakeholders in the sporting confederations to encourage senior adults to enroll in kickboxing activities in gyms. Besides, the age perception, some people associate sports with those who need to earn a living out of them. Therefore, they are reluctant to take up any activity that involves workouts owing to these misplaced thinking. However, to promote awareness and increase kickboxing and Muay Thai membership in the UAE, the confederation has to customize the various workouts offered by gyms to match the desires of all ages in the region. According to Andreato and Branco (2016), stakeholders and the UAE Kickboxing and Muay Thai confederation should cooperate with gym owners so that they classify workouts into various segments prevalent in modern societies.

Some of the divisions that should form the focus of the confederation include age, purchasing power, and preferences. The sport should follow a format that gives people of all ages the chance to participate even in the national teams. Competition in kickboxing and Muay Thai can have categories respective to the different sets of people. By tailoring the sport according to ages and preferences, the level of passion demonstrated by individuals across the region augments, and the scale of participation improves. Gradually, citizens change their misplaced notions towards the sport and start looking at it from an informed standpoint. Besides, the elders will encourage the youngsters to learn the game from tender ages and challenge them to star.

While aggressive workouts match the desires of adventurous youth, they may not be suitable for the senior members of society. Conversely, the senior citizens can still enroll in kickboxing programs and engage in light workouts. Children usually referred to as young samurais, can receive training alongside life skills that empower them with the knowledge that the exercises are primarily for defense and not aggression (Attlee et al. 2017). The essence of teaching these skills to the young samurais is to minimize instances where they practice them on others in the community. Youth can also receive a similar education because a number of them are still adventurous. However, senior individuals who understand that the workouts are for body fitness and self-defense may not need much of the education. Therefore, to promote the sport in the UAE, there is a need to meet the expectations of all age sets in the region and demystify the notion that kickboxing propagates violence.

Another segment that the UAE Kickboxing and Muay Thai Confederation can target in marketing the sport to the citizens is purchasing power and preferences. Andreato and Branco (2016) claim that although some individuals may enjoy services offered by high-end gyms, average residents of the UAE may not have the financial ability to access them. Due to their inability to access these gyms, some individuals may be reluctant to enroll owing to the notion that the workouts suit the wealthy. In a bid to ensure that the people in the region enjoy the benefits of the sport, the confederation and the relevant stakeholders should work together with the trainers and gym owners. The objective of working together is to come up with services that match the requirements of people of all incomes in the country. At times, smart individuals fail to demonstrate their kickboxing and Muay Thai expertise because they do not have sufficient resources to access the gyms and training centers. Therefore, by creating services that match the preferences of all the citizens, the number of people subscribing to kickboxing and Muay Thai sport in the UAE will increase.

Assessing the Value of the Sport

Another factor that the UAE Kickboxing and Muay Thai Confederation should address to promote the sport in the region is analyzing its value. Each game practiced by people in the modern world has a cost attached to it. The worth, which in most cases is monetary, usually dictates the amount of viewership and enrollment. If people consider that a particular sport is worthwhile, then they spent most of their time watching and practicing it so that they become stars in their categories. Football, for instance, is one of the games that individuals consider to be of high regard, as evidenced by the several fans thronging the stadiums and social places to watch it. Ouergui et al. (2014) assert that the confederation needs to embark on a journey of educating the UAE citizens on the importance of the sport and the potential of its full optimization if it intends to increase the relevance of kickboxing and Muay Thai. Although the process may be long-drawn, it will eventually yield positive results. Notably, the chief emphasis of the stakeholders and the confederation will be to change the mindset of people and convince them that Kickboxing and Muay Thai can attain positions, which exceed those witnessed in sports such as football and cricket.

Undertaking a Competitive Analysis

Remarkably, to examine the value of kickboxing successfully, it is wise for the confederation to engage in intensive competitive analysis of the sport in the UAE region. By undertaking the right review, the process of selecting, training, and managing talent becomes easy and efficient. Just like in other sports that top the list in the UAE, kickboxing can attain high levels if its leaders ensure that its processes are high-end. Scrutiny of teams such as football, cricket, and tennis reveals that their operations follow superb formats and their facilities meet the desired standards (Vel, Shah, & Fakhir 2017). Besides, the equipment used to train the respective athletes is available in several places including hotels and learning institutions.

Presently, some hotels in the UAE provide tennis and basketball courts for their customers. By availing the equipment, stakeholders in the respective games improve their competitiveness in the sporting sector. Therefore, to tackle the challenge, the UAE Kickboxing and Muay Thai Confederation must work on its facilities and devise ways that can enable it to identify and nurture talent from the right individuals. At times, an individual who has the best capabilities can illuminate the entire sport and increase its reputation in and outside a region. Therefore, correct procedures geared towards improving the competitiveness of kickboxing and Muay Thai are essential in the achievement of the confederation’s objective of promoting the sport in the UAE.


Kickboxing and Muay Thai are steadily gaining popularity in the United Arab Emirates. However, the pace at which the sport is rising is slow, an issue that generated a desire to promote it in the region. Some of the significant challenges that impair its progress include cultural differences and limited facilities. On the other hand, the benefits that necessitate the need to improve the sport in the UAE comprise physical and economic. The use of social and mainstream media, provision of the right equipment, and proper marketing procedures are some of the initiatives that the UAE Kickboxing and Muay Thai Confederation can utilize to promote the game. Additionally, engaging in value and competitive analysis comprises the best promotional procedures useful in elevating the level of awareness held by people residing in the UAE concerning kickboxing.

Reference List

Andreato, L & Branco, B 2016, ‘Different sports, but the same physical and physiological profiles’, Sports Medicine, vol. 46, no. 12, pp. 1963-1965.

Attlee, A, Atmani, N, Stromtsov, V, Ali, F, Tikarly, R, Ryad, S, Salah, G, Hasan, H & Obaid, R 2017, ‘Assessment of weight management practices among adults in the United Arab Emirates’, Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-9.

Katz, R 2015, ‘Adaptation and mobility in wireless information systems: after 20 years’, GetMobile: Mobile Computing and Communications, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 5-8.

Laar, R, Zhang, J, Yu, T, Qi, H & Ashraf, M 2018, ‘Constraints to women’s participation in sports: a study of participation of Pakistani female students in physical activities,’ International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-13.

Ouergui, I, Hssin, N, Haddad, M, Padulo, J, Franchini, E, Gmada, N & Bouhlel, E 2014, ‘The effects of five weeks of kickboxing training on physical fitness,’ Muscles, ligaments and Tendons Journal, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 97-106.

UAE Muay Thai & Kick Boxing Federation 2017, Contributing to building a strong generation able to defend themselves, Web.

Van Den Berg, L & Braun, E 2017, Sports and city marketing in European cities, Routledge, New York, NY.

Vel, P, Shah, A & Fakhir, F 2017, ‘Destination marketing using a sport’, Oxford Journal: An International Journal of Business & Economics, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 58-93.

This proposal on Muay Thai and Kickboxing Promotion in the UAE

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