Fans, fighters and ONE Championship staff have paid tribute on social media to Paopom Watcharin. The referee was found dead in his Bangkok apartment last night.

Watcharin was a well known referee who officiated on several ONE Championship cards at Lumpinee Stadium. According to Thai media he was killed by what appeared to be a self inflicted gun shot with his wife discovering the body in their shared apartment when she returned from work.

Ric Auty, a senior director at ONE Championship, shared a photo of Watcharin with the team at Lumpinee Stadium alongside a caption reading,

Life is short and precious. Be kind. Be open. Be there for people. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.


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A post shared by Ric Auty (@slicricauty)

Serving officer

Watcharin was highly thought of as a referee and was entrusted to officiate some of ONE Championship’s biggest fights. Most recently he was in charge of the kickboxing bout between former champion and Superbon Banchamek and Tayfun Ozcan.

The referee, who was also a serving officer with the Royal Thai Police, can be seen diving in to try and prevent Ozcan’s head from hitting the canvass after Superbon delivered the knockout blow:

Former fighter

Before becoming a referee he was a Muay Thai fighter who competed under the name Sakchaiwat Sor Suwanpakdi. Watcharin fought around 15o times before retiring due to an arm injury according to The Nation.

Watcharin had been working on ONE Championship cards since January and was the only Thai referee to be used regularly by the Singapore headquartered promotion.

Paying tribute

Among the fighters paying tribute was Nong-O Gaiyanghadao. Writing in Thai the former ONE Championship bantamweight Muay Thai champion expressed his condolences writing that,

I was happy to get to know you during this time. I hope you have found peace.