Professional Rules Used In Pradip Subramanian/Steven Lim Celebrity Fight, But Both Were Clearly Amateurs


Celebrity Fight Between Pradip Subramanian and Steven Lim Should Not Have Been Allowed

What was supposed to be an entertaining celebrity fight between self-professed superstar Steven Lim and World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Federation (WBPF) President Pradip Subramanian ended in tragedy on 23 Sept at Asia Fighting Championship’s (AFC) first ever show.

Sadly, Mr Pradip passed away from a “cardiac arrest respiratory failure” according to preliminary medical reports by Singapore General Hospital.

While the finger-pointing game has begun with some Singaporeans blaming Steven Lim for the death, let’s take a look at why the fight shouldn’t even have happened in the first place.

Last minute entry

Originally billed as the ‘fight of the century’, the celebrity fight was supposed to be a contest between Steven Lim and Singapore Idol Runner-up Sylvester Sim. The two had been training for the fight since June.

However, Sim pulled out a day before the fight, due to “insufficient insurance coverage”.┬áDespite the lack of preparation, organizers AFC replaced Mr Sim with veteran bodybuilder Mr Pradip.

Although Mr Pradip has a daunting physique, he was clearly not conditioned to fight given the lack of preparation. A day cannot be considered as sufficient enough to prepare for a fight especially when the fighter is an amateur. In fact, at least 1,000 hours of training is recommended before stepping into the ring. ST also understands that Mr Pradip did not undergo any MRI or heart tests before the fight.


Even UFC legend Corner McGregor had at least 6 years of training under his belt before his first amateur fight. So what gave the AFC the impression that Mr Pradip was ready for a fight?

Well, AFC founder and chief executive officer Sasidharan Unnithan told ST that his close friend Mr Pradip had some experience in kickboxing. The two of them had taught kickboxing classes while working together at California Fitness.

Family thought he wasn’t going to fight

Even with kickboxing experience under his belt, Mr Pradip was apparently not in the right physical condition to fight. According to a TNP interview with Mr Pradip’s family, his niece Joyce Roger said that Mr Pradip was “feeling unwell” days before the fight and that no one expected him to fight.

In addition, Mr Pradip’s cousin Roger Rajan revealed that the family did not know “how he was approved for the fight” since he was a bodybuilder, and not a fighter.

Safety of fighters risked because AFC used professional rather than amateur rules

Anyone who watched the fight could obviously tell that Lim and Pradip were amateur fighters, from the way they wildly swung their arms and their poor defensive stance. However, instead of using amateur rules, the AFC slated this to be a professional match. This put both fighters at a huge risk.

One of the huge differences between an amateur and a professional Muay Thai match is the rule for protective gear.

According to the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA), it is compulsory for all amateur fighters to wear protective gear such as head, elbow, and shin guards.


However, it seems that the match was slated to be a professional one. This was implied by Mr Sasidharan, after he told ST that the AFC had followed the standards and safety protocols of World Muaythai Council (WMC), a professional Muaythai body.

Unlike IFMA, the WMC does not require its fighters to don protective gear, perhaps because the fighters are assumed to be professional.


Given that both fighters are novices, it was unsurprising that the two did not know the differences between an amateur and a professional fight.

And here’s how we know. If you take a closer look at the video of the fight, Lim could be seen gesturing to the referee, perhaps with regards to the lack protective head gear.

However, the AFC referee waved the fight on instead of addressing the matter.

Not Steven Lim’s Fault

While Steven Lim been slammed on numerous occasions for his eccentric behaviour and attention seeking antics, this accident is clearly not his fault. Many Singaporeans have thrown their support behind the eccentric star, and called for haters to focus on grieving for Mr Pradip.



The MustShareNews team would like to extend our deepest condolences to Mr Pradip’s family.

Featured image from Asia Fighting Championship




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