Watcharin “Pao Pom”Ratchanipon, a well-known ONE Championship MMA Muay Thai referee, was found dead in his condominium in Bangkok’s Bangkapi neighbourhood on Friday night (June 16) from a gunshot wound on his right temple, according to Lat Phrao Police Station.
Watcharin was known as “Pao Pom” among Muay Thai fans since he was the only Thai national referee in the international Muay Thai events ONE Championship and ONE Lumpinee.
According to police, they discovered a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun near his right arm and no evidence of a break-in or struggle in the room. They suspected the 34-year-old referee committed suicide.
When his 37-year-old wife arrived home from work around 10 p.m., she discovered his body.
She allegedly informed police that Watcharin was stressed out at work and showing signs of depression, causing him to see a psychiatrist. The marriage had a history of squabbles and physical abuse, according to reports, but she claimed her husband “had improved a lot lately.”
His body was taken to the Police General Hospital for a thorough autopsy.
Fans, combatants, and ONE Championship officials have paid respect to Paopom Watcharin on social media.
Watcharin was a former Muay Thai boxer known as “Sakchaiwat Sor Suwanpakdi” and a police sergeant. He competed in over 150 kickboxing contests before retiring from the sport at the age of 18 due to a broken arm.
After earning his bachelor’s degree, he returned to the ring as a trainer before enrolling in a referee training at the Professional Boxing Association of Thailand. He became a Lumpinee Stadium certified referee in 2013 and has served there ever since.
Since the tournament’s inception in January this year, Chatri Sityodtong, chief executive officer of Singapore-based combat sports promotion ONE Championship, has chosen Watcharin as on-stage referee.
He was the sole Thai on the international referee panel.
Watcharin was highly regarded as a referee and was entrusted with officiating some of ONE Championship’s most important fights. He recently oversaw a kickboxing match between former champion and Superbon Banchamek and Tayfun Ozcan.
Watcharin has been working on ONE Championship cards since January and was the only Thai referee that the Singapore-based promotion used on a regular basis.
ONE Championship Singaporean Combat Sport
ONE Championship is a mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion business based in Singapore. Chatri Sityodtong, an entrepreneur, launched it in 2011 with the objective of promoting Asian martial arts and exhibiting fighters from around the world. ONE Championship is widely regarded as one of the world’s largest MMA organisations, with events held in countries throughout Asia and beyond.
ONE Championship, unlike some other MMA promoters, adheres to a set of standards that prioritise safety and fair competition. They use a combination of striking, grappling, and submission methods, and they have particular rules in place to keep competitors safe. ONE Championship also places a major emphasis on martial arts values, instilling in its fighters respect, integrity, humility, discipline, and courage.
ONE Championship events include a variety of weight classes and divisions, as well as men’s and women’s competitions. They feature various combat sports, such as Muay Thai and kickboxing, in addition to MMA matches. The organisation has grown in popularity and has a large fan base in Asia and around the world.
Aside from competitions, ONE Championship has launched a number of programmes to promote martial arts and social concerns. They have launched community programmes, scholarship programmes, and gender equality and environmental sustainability initiatives. Through its initiatives, ONE Championship aspires to be a force for good and have a positive impact on society.