Muay Thai referee found dead in condo with gunshot wound
Well-known Muay Thai referee Watcharin Ratchanipon was found dead in his condominium in Bangkok’s Bangkapi area on Friday night (June 16) from a gunshot wound on his right temple, Lat Phrao Police Station said.
Watcharin was known among Muay Thai fans by his nickname “Pao Pom”, being the only Thai national referee in the international Muay Thai tournaments ONE Championship and ONE Lumpinee.
Police said they found a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun near his right arm and no signs of a break-in or struggle in the room. They speculated that the 34-year-old referee had committed suicide.
His 37-year-old wife found his body at around 10pm when she returned home from work.
She reportedly told the police that Watcharin was under stress from work and had signs of depression, prompting him to see a psychiatrist. The couple reportedly had a history of quarrelling and physical abuse, but she said her husband “had improved a lot lately”.
His body was transported to the Police General Hospital for detailed autopsy.
Watcharin was a police sergeant and a former Muay Thai boxer under the stage name “Sakchaiwat Sor Suwanpakdi”. He fought in over 150 kickboxing matches before quitting the ring at 18 due to a broken arm.
After getting a bachelor’s degree, he returned to the ring as a trainer and later took a course at Professional Boxing Association of Thailand to become a referee. He became a certified referee of Lumpinee Stadium in 2013 and had worked there until present.
Chatri Sityodtong, chief executive officer of Singapore-based combat sports promotion ONE Championship, selected Watcharin as on-stage referee for the ONE Lumpinee tournament since its opening in January this year. He was the only Thai member in the panel of international referees.