Former top ranked UFC welterweight Mike “Quick” Swick has recently enjoyed a bit of a career resurgence as a coach at AKA Thailand, a Phuket-based satellite of the original American Kickboxing Academy location in San Jose, California. Under Swick’s leadership, this Phuket facility has been referred to by AKA founder Javier Mendez as “the dream gym.”
The web series Real Quick With Mike Swick chronicles the talented UFC veteran’s life in sun-soaked Thailand, from his coaching duties inside the gym, to his exploration of the country when he’s not on the clock.
In the latest episode of this engaging series, Swick and fellow AKA Thailand coach Kru Hehm take a trip to Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival. What they find there, however, is far more than meat-free cuisine.
As Swick puts it in this episode, “if you ordered a salad with a side of mutilation, you’ve come to the right place.”
The focal point of the festival, as Swick discovers, is a shocking scene of body mutilation, as locals impale their mouths, lips and tongues with items ranging from swords, knives and meathooks to toy helicopters, fishing rods and full-size bicycles.
Over the course of the episode, Swick meanders this incredible scene as Kru Hehm explains that these acts of body mutilation are a way of showcasing the strength that local vegetarians believe they’ve achieved through their vegetarian diets.
As this riveting episode winds down, Swick and the surrounding crowd are pelted with firecrackers – yet another painful part of this wild Thai festival.
Swick was last scene in action at UFC 189 in mid 2015, when he gave up a hard-fought unanimous decision to Dominican-Canadian talent Alex Garcia. After this loss, he announced his intention to retire from MMA, at which point his focus shifted to this new coaching position.
AKA Thailand opened in 2014. Despite the short time it’s been around, it’s already served as the headquarters for some of the game’s very best fighters.