Michael Chase Corley Discusses his Retirement from the Sport of Muay Thai
The journey as a martial artist presents many twist and turns along the adventure. Starting his career as a youth, Muay Thai fighter Michael Chase Corley has had quite the journey in his fight career.
Undergoing his share of ups and downs along the way, the time he has spent in the sport has offered the Texan a life altering experience on a personal and professional standpoint.
Recently announcing his retirement following "Glory World Series", there is no denying the commitment Corley has put into his profession that has allowed him to have an extended and storied Muay Thai career.
USCS catches up with Corley as he reflects on his time in the sport and looks onward to future endeavors the game of life will take him.
On May 19 at Glory World Series you went into your final fight against Ky Hollenbeck. How did you feel originally going into the fight?
Michael Corley: I felt pretty good. I had the biggest layoff between fights I ever had in six months because of a broken arm. I was excited to get back in there. The cut to 70KG was a little rough. I had done it only one other time in my career at the Toyota Cup in the beginning of 2011, but this tournament, like the Toyota was such a big event I had to get there.
After suffering the loss you shockingly announced your retirement from Muay Thai. Was this departure already planned before the encounter or was it something you decided after the fight?
Michael Corley: 2012 was going to be the last year of kickboxing/Muay Thai. I just felt it was time after the Glory Tournament [because] it was my third loss in a row. I had my chances at Titles and Tournaments and fell short. I didn't want to be that fighter that stayed around too long and become just an opponent.
Since I moved back from Thailand it is hard getting quality Muay Thai/kickboxing training partners in Houston. Most of the fighters in Houston are MMA or Boxing. I mean there are good trainers here, but not allot of training partners that are straight kickboxing or Muay Thai. I'm only 27-years-old so it's not the last you'll hear from me in combative sports, that's just the last you'll see me in kickboxing/Muay Thai competition.
Looking back at your journey from a competition aspect from a winning and losing standpoint, how has each encounter helped with your growth as a fighter?
Michael Corley: I fought some of the best out there and had a lot of tough fights. I never cared about my record. I just wanted to fight the best. I felt that was the best way to grow as a fighter. If I sat around and fought cab drivers every week to pad my record then I wouldn't be getting any better.
Is there anything you feel you would have liked to accomplish in your career that you did not get a chance to obtain?
Michael Corley: I never won a major title. That's the ultimate goal in ring sports is to get a title. I had the opportunity to fight in Major Tournaments and Championship fights and just came up short. I also spent my entire professional career overseas. I never had a pro fight in the USA. That would have been great, because I haven't had the crowd on my side once. I did a couple of times in Thailand I guess.
What would you say was your fondest moment during your time in Muay Thai?
Michael Corley: Lumpinee Stadium hands down. Just so much history there it was a great experience. The best of all time have fought in that stadium! Muay Thai is so international now and I got to fight in eight different countries! So everytime I fought in another country it was fond moment in my career. Muay Thai fighters and coaches are all so respectful so it was cool meeting and making friends with people from all over the world that shared my passion.
What has this sport done for you on a personal and professional standpoint?
Michael Corley: It has just made me a more disciplined person and competitive person. I mean if you're going to compete at the highest level you have to be pretty disciplined with your life [with things like] strict diet, training sessions, roadwork. That discipline and work ethic carries over into anything you do [like] pickup basketball games, golf, or writing a paper for work.
Now I assume you are stilling going to be teaching. What do you hope to pass on to future Muay Thai fighters?
Michael Corley: I love teaching. I hope to get some fighters developed back home in Houston. I want to pass on that despite being from Houston or some other non Muay Thai city you can still make it to the big shows of Muay Thai if you work hard. I have fought for close to nine years and lived in Thailand for two years so I believe I have a lot to pass on to anyone willing to listen.
With a great career in Muay Thai established, what is next for Michael Chase Corley?
Michael Corley: I wouldn't say GREAT haha, It was pretty good for a guy from Texas. I Hope to help promote some Muay Thai shows in Houston. I really would like to see this sport in the mainstream. Also, I would like to continue working with the USA IFMA Team. I also work with a lot of MMA guys on striking, so that keeps me pretty busy. I may do a couple of boxing matches in Houston just so that I can fight in front of my friends and family just once.
When people look back at Michael Chase Corley's career what do you want people to remember about you?
Michael Corley: A fighter that fought anyone they put in front of him even when the odds were against me. I never have claimed to be the best fighter, but I did fight some of the best in the world and sometimes even on short notice.
Are there any final thoughts or people you would like to thank?
Michael Corley: Thank you to all the gyms, trainers, managers, promotions, and training partners that I have worked with throughout my Muay Thai and Kickboxing journey.