A failed Muay Thai dope test? We’re venturing into some controversial territory today, Muay Thai, with its rich legacy, finds itself at a crossroads, and it’s time we address it head-on.
Inside this episode:
  1. How the spirit of Muay Thai is being put to the test.
  2. The insidious rise of performance enhancers in the world of combat sports.
  3. The stark reality behind performance enhancing drugs and the dilemma they present.
  4. Our collective responsibility: Where do we go from here?
Full Episode Below: Immerse yourself in the full video & article, “Dope Test – Has Muay Thai Been Found Out?” and be part of the solution.

by Don Heatrick

Muay Thai Dope Test – The State of Affairs

Our beloved sport, with roots embedded deep in Thailand’s cultural fabric, is now under the global spotlight. With this newfound limelight comes a rigorous framework of regulations, set out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Understandably, this shift might seem overwhelming for many; after all, a discipline steeped in age-old traditions is now crossing over with contemporary rules and guidelines. It’s a journey from local to global, from traditional to professional, and with it comes a duty of understanding and adherence.

Dope Test Fail ONE Championship Press release Petchtanong Statement

The story of Petchtanong and his unexpected drug test revealing Boldenone and Metenolone anabolic steroid use, underscores a general misunderstanding in our community. While his tale is steeped in genuine confusion, and perhaps an innocent lack of awareness, it’s a stark reminder that ignorance can no longer be our alibi. As Muay Thai gains worldwide acclaim and professional rigour, each one of us — fighters, coaches, and enthusiasts alike — need to equip ourselves with knowledge, aligning our age-old passion with today’s standards of global sportsmanship.

The Vision Forward

Picture an arena where fighters and coaches stand tall, armed not just with killer strikes and clever tactics but with a robust knowledge about doping rules and health risks. Where the pride of victory is matched only by the assurance that it was achieved with integrity and authenticity.

Before you even think about stepping into that ring or embarking on a rigorous training programme, etch this resource into your memory: the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. You’ll find a link in the further resources at the bottom of this page.

This is your bible. It’s not just a list; it’s a testament to the values we uphold in Muay Thai.

The Dope Test Protects – The Realities and Risks

Now, I’ve been around long enough to have seen firsthand the health calamities stemming from anabolic steroids. The risks? They’re real…

The promise of increased strength and leanness is often shadowed by stark health risks. Regular intake can lead to a host of conditions ranging from yellowing of eyes and skin, severe acne, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, depression and violent behaviour, to life ending brain and liver cancer, a heightened risk of heart attacks, and even strokes.

On a more personal note, there are some distressing potential side effects depending on your biological sex too..

For male fighters, imagine the mental anguish accompanying physical changes like breast development, lower sperm count, shrinking testicles, and impotence. 


For female fighters, the picture isn’t any brighter. Women might find themselves battling hair growth in unwanted places, from the face, the back, even the backside. Voices can deepen, and menstrual cycles can be disrupted.


It’s essential to paint this picture vividly, not to promote fear, but to foster informed decisions. While the immediate temptation of performance-enhancing drugs is obvious, the long-term costs, both physically and mentally, are too significant to ignore. It’s why they’re banned.

Anabolic steroids, particularly the likes of Boldenone, aren’t meant for us. This is literally horse territory! And it’s even banned in horse racing! When we toy with substances designed for animals, we aren’t just bending the rules of sport; we’re playing Russian roulette with our lives.

The Onus on Us

There’s a shadow looming over elite Muay Thai, with many feeling that to claim that belt, you must gamble with PEDs. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years as a Muay Thai performance specialist, it’s this: there’s no shortcut to greatness. True mastery demands more than just enhanced muscles; it calls for true heart and an unyielding commitment to authenticity.

Here’s some hard truth: Ignorance, however heartfelt, is not a valid excuse. Titles CAN be reclaimed, but a tarnished legacy? That remains a ghostly reminder of the choices made.

A Glimpse of Tomorrow

The future of elite Muay Thai needn’t be a gauntlet of prohibited substances and health risks. Instead, let’s envision a community where fighters take charge of their future, where coaches serve as beacons of guidance, and where the sport flourishes, fuelled by genuine champions and untainted legacies.

Failed Dope Test – Acting Beyond Sympathy

In the evolving landscape of global Muay Thai, our responsibilities stretch beyond the boundaries of the ring. The sympathetic chord struck by Petchtanong’s situation is clear, yes. However, it serves as a poignant reminder of our collective duty to remain vigilant and accountable. Not just during in-competition periods, but crucially, during out-of-competition times too.

The nature of these regulations requires that fighters be prepared for testing both in and out of competition. This is to maintain the integrity of the sport throughout, ensuring fighters remain true to the ethos of fair competition not only when the eyes of the world are on them, but also during those quiet moments away from the limelight. Which are the moments TRULY responsible for the fighter you become in the ring.

The message is clear: Uphold the spirit of the sport, not only when you believe someone’s watching, but at ALL times. Just like you don’t want to be the fighter who takes a break when your trainer isn’t looking.

It’s a matter of self respect, determination and honour, a cornerstone of Muay Thai’s rich heritage. Staying clean and abiding by the regulations is an affirmation of our dedication to the sport, showing respect not only for our opponents but for the art itself.

The Call to Action

If you’re a fighter, know your substances. If you’re a coach, educate relentlessly. And if you’re an enthusiast, champion the cause of authenticity. Let’s not wait for another Petchtanong case to remind us of our collective duty.

Should you ever find yourself or someone in your circle facing an injury or medical condition, remember there’s a way – a Therapeutic Use Exemption. It’s not a sneaky loophole but a legitimate course. And when it comes to supplements, make sure they’re batch tested and HFL certified not to contain any banned substances.

Equip yourself with knowledge, and you’ll never have to stand on the wrong side of the fence. The UK Anti-Doping website can really help you here… There’s a link for you in the further resources at the end of this article. It’s essential we foster an environment where clarity triumphs over confusion.

The Adventure Ahead

As I say this, I can almost hear the rhythmic thuds of fighters warming up, the buzz of excitement in the air, tainted with the smell of Thai oil. Muay Thai isn’t just a sport; it’s a journey. A quest for growth, contribution, and unparalleled experiences.

Each of us has a part to play as Muay Thai gains a greater global status. So, the next time you wrap your hands or impart wisdom to a budding fighter, remember – the choices we make today will shape the legacy of Muay Thai tomorrow.


Parting Words

Muay Thai is as much about mental strength as it is about physical prowess. It’s in our hands to keep Muay Thai pure, authentic, and revered. We must ensure that the sport’s elite level isn’t just about who takes the biggest risks with PEDs, but about who showcases pure talent, skill, and dedication.

Remember, it’s not just about the kicks, punches, or the thrill of the fight. It’s about the legacy you leave behind. Play fair, play smart, and let’s ensure our Muay Thai story is one of integrity, adventure, and undeniable heart. Because that’s how legends are born.

Stay strong, stay informed, and let’s make Muay Thai the epitome of authentic sporting spirit.

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Don Heatrick

Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning

Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.

Follow Don Heatrick on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/donheatrick/

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