Myanmar Sanctioning Body Blacklists Its World Champion

In a bizarre turn of events, it's been reported the Myanmar Traditional Lethwei Federation has "blacklisted" champion Dave Leduc and banned him from competition for two years. Leduc, the first foreigner to win the gold belt world title in lethwei, which is fought bareknuckle and allows headbutts, has recently attacked muay Thai fighter Buakaw on social media attempting to drum up a match with the Thai boxing star who competes several weight classes below him.

Leduc was also critical of muay Thai in his comments. The Lethwei Federation, which is based in Myanmar, has cited that as the reason for the ban. Relations between Myanmar and Thailand have traditionally been strained.

But there are questions as to whether Leduc's support for the democracy movement in Myanmar may have also influenced the decision with Myanmar's elected government being overthrown earlier this year by the military. Leduc, from Canada, has long been a magnet for controversy, recently taking an anti-mask stance during the pandemic. It's unclear just how much the blacklisting will hinder his career as Leduc has fought outside Myanmar on several occasions including the first lethwei bout held in the United States last November.