On June 17, news broke of the death of Watcharin “Paopom” Ratchaniphon. He was found in his condominium in Bang Kapi, Bangkok. It was a shocking and sobering day in the world of Muay Thai, and the face of ONE Championship Muay Thai, Rodtang Jitmuangnon, has recently broken his silence on the impact of Paupom’s passing.
Rodtang Talks Muay Thai Referee “Paopom”‘s Passing
“‘Paopom’s’ tragic death is a great loss for the Muay Thai community. Personally, I feel so sorry that we lost a good referee and man like him,” Rodtang told ONE.
The notable referee took his own life at the start of summer. For Rodtang, the news was even more shocking as he had just seen him doing his duties in the ring the night before he heard the news. It is a death that still weighs on the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion.
“The day before his suicide, I went to watch the fights at the stadium, and I saw him doing his job in the ring. I also had a short talk with him, and suddenly, he passed away the next day. I feel deep sorrow for him. I wish he had another way to solve his problems rather than doing that,” Rodtang remembered.
Rodtang spoke about Paopom’s passing in part due to National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. September marks the month when mental health advocates, organizations, survivors, allies, and more help bring attention to the ways in which to prevent suicide. Rodtang reflected on his own personal battles and offered a few words of advice for anyone who may be struggling.
“When I’m going through a tough time or hardships in my life, I try to encourage myself. I try not to aggravate my suffering. I can’t choose to be born with a silver spoon, but I can choose to live a good life. I try to be a positive-thinking person. It’s the biggest blessing for us to be born on the Earth,” the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion said.
The Thai superstar continued to preach the good of having a positive outlook on life. No matter the gold belts or accolades, Rodtang drives home the message of living life to the fullest. In the wake of Paopam’s tragic passing, the Thai stay wants everyone to seize the moment and enjoy the blessing of life.
“When you feel discouraged, I hope you can stand tall and fight. You don’t have to be a millionaire, but you can live your life the best you can. You don’t need to have a luxurious lifestyle. Enjoy the good moments of your life. You only know your birthday, but you never know the date of your death. As long as you’re breathing, try to do whatever it takes to make yourself as happy as possible,” Rodtang said.
Rodtang will next compete at ONE Friday Fights 34 on Friday, October 22. The event will air for free on ONE’s official YouTube channel. The action begins at 8:30 a.m. ET/5:30 a.m. PT.
If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. The organization helps spread the word about actions to prevent suicide. The Lifeline network has various resources available on their website located here.