UFC bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath was given a tough matchup at UFC 222 when he faced off with the hyped Sean O’Malley. O’Malley managed to stun Soukhamthath relatively early in the fight, but “The Asian Sensation” managed to stay in the fight until the third round, when O’Malley suddenly couldn’t stand on one foot.
As bad as it sounds, when your opponent suffers a major injury like that there are usually easy ways to take advantage of it to win the fight. In this case, that would have been forcing O’Malley to stand on his injured foot. Surprisingly though, Southkamthath didn’t do that. He grappled with his opponent for the rest of the fight, which had a lot of fans and media alike scratching their heads. Even UFC commentator Joe Rogan made his feelings known during the fight, and Dana White echoed his thoughts at the post-fight press conference.
To his credit, Southkamthath didn’t hide from the criticism in an interview with ESPN. But even he isn’t 100% sure why he went about things that way:
“I’m getting trolled right now by so many people,” Soukamthath says. “They are calling me the dumbest fighter in MMA. The dumbest fighter in UFC history. Even my friend Rashad [Evans]. Everyone is wondering why I decided to wrestle, and I’m wondering the same thing.”
“After he rocked me, I still stayed in the fight, but I was kind of dizzy and dazed afterwards,” Soukhamthath says. “That shot really threw me off the rest of the game plan in the fight. I really wasn’t there.
”I think I was just fighting with instincts. I definitely regret it, because I’m a striker first and a wrestler second. If I would have just done my thing out there, I easily would have won the fight.”
O’Malley ended up winning a unanimous decision after the questionable decision-making, and then took part in a memorable post-fight interview laying flat on his back. Still though, Soukhamthath isn’t going to let the negative feedback have any effect on him:
“I know what I did wrong. I realize what I did. I’m going to capitalize on my mistakes and learn from this. I’m not going to let opinions of others get in the way of my life. I’ve been through this before, and I’m not going to let it bring me down.”