The return of Kit Cope was not to be. I can’t say I’m not disappointed by the latest news that Kit Cope was not granted a license to fight for this Saturday’s “Battle in the Desert 4″ card. We haven’t heard any details as to why Cope wasn’t given a license to fight, but this isn’t the first time Cope has had issues with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. As some of you may recall, Cope tested positive for steroids following his submission loss to “Razor” Rob McCullough at the WEC in 2007. Now while I doubt Cope was denied a license due to an issue with banned substances, his absence from “Battle in the Desert 4″ leaves us all with question regarding how the charismatic nakmuay turned MMA fighter would fare in a return to the Muay Thai ring. As I mentioned in my lead-up article to “Battle in the Desert 4″, Cope is still relatively young enough to have another go at Muay Thai contendership. With a 23-1 Muay Thai record, Cope was no slouch when it came to fighting in the science of 8 limbs. And with a personality that you will either love to hate or hate to love coupled with the fact that Cope has already enjoyed some mainstream TV exposure, Cope stepping into the ring would definitely put some butts in seats.
The minds at Lion Fight Promotions most likely had the same thought process when they booked Cope to fight the up and coming Palacios. But alas in the fight game, even when contracts are signed and fighters are ready to go…anything can happen. Normally, this situation would lead to the bout as a whole being scratched from the card, thus leaving Jose Palacios without a fight and relegated to watching the event from the stands. But thankfully for us Muay Thai fans, there exists Malaipet Sasiprapa, who stepped in to replace Kit Cope with only about 48 hours notice.
Malaipet hasn’t enjoyed the most impressive of runs as of late, having only been able to score a draw in one of his last three fights. I have been critical at times of Malaipet’s seemingly dismissive attitude of disciplined training in the lead up to his fights but regardless of his present rut and my critique, Malaipet is not in any way, shape, or form, an opponent to take lightly. Malaipet well knows that his stock has been dropping and that potential opponents may not fear his name as much as they once did. But in Muay Thai, as in life, a man is most dangerous when he is down and out because he will stop at nothing to pull himself out of the rut he is in or will make sure to go out guns blazing. Malaipet is even more dangerous now for just that reason. Malaipet is still just 29 years young and although by Thai standards he is on the tail end of his career, outside of Thailand he has a wealth of experience that can definitely give any fighter a night of problems and hurt if he comes into the fight hungry and looking to do you bodily harm.
While I still want to see Kit Cope back in the ring sometime down the line, not because I’m a Kit Cope fan but because I want to see how he will fair in this current growing Muay Thai climate, I definitely think this fight has much bigger implications for both Palacios and Malaipet then the fight with Kit Cope ever had. Palacios has a chance to continue his rise up the ranks while Malaipet has the chance to step back into them. This one is going to be good!
If you can’t be at the event live make sure to tune into the live PPV stream at GFL.TV!!! And if you can’t catch either, you can always check out Muay Thai is Life’s Official Facebook Page for our Play-by-Play coverage!