It is most likely that Thai prospect Kritsada Kongsrichai endured the most heartbreaking setback an up-and-coming mixed martial artist could suffer in his budding professional career when he competed in front of his countrymen this past March.
Kongsrichai was declared the victor and received the nominal medal, including his guaranteed purse with win bonus, but less than 24 hours later, his triumph was revoked and overturned by the top brass of ONE Championship.
The 26-year-old native of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand originally earned a technical knockout victory over Robin Catalan at ONE: IRON WILL three months ago as he slammed his Filipino opponent and finished him off with follow-up punches at the 1:40 mark of the first round.
Catalan was a recipient of a high-angle belly-to-back suplex that saw him crash his head first to the canvas.
However, company head honcho Chatri Sityodtong issued a statement via Facebook after the event that the move was illegal, and as a result, Catalan was awarded with the win via disqualification.
Kongsrichai admitted that when he found out the victory was reversed to a disqualification loss, it was initially a bitter pill to swallow.
“I was shocked once I knew that the result was overturned. At first, I was disappointed. But I have to live with it and move on. I accepted the promotion’s decision. I knew I tried my best in that bout,” he said.
Kongsrichai stressed that he respects the verdict of ONE Championship’s higher-ups to overrule his victory over Catalan as the organization stands true to its mission to protect its athletes and ensure their safety.
“I respect Mr. Chatri’s decision. I accept it with submission. They would know best. The company looks after the safety and the welfare of every competitor on the roster,” he stated.
With the goal of regaining his confidence, Kongsrichai participated at the recently-concluded Thailand Wrestling Championship 2018, winning the gold medal for the 14th consecutive year.
“I am so happy that I won the gold medal. It is the ultimate assurance to myself that my competitive spirit is on the right track,” he shared.
Armed with renewed drive to compete, Kongsrichai turns his attention to mixed martial arts once again, aiming to reinsert his name into the winner’s column.
Kongsrichai crosses paths with another Filipino inside the cage as he battles Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado on the undercard of ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR, which takes place at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar on Friday, 29 June.
“Training is, as usual, very tough. We are drilling very hard each and every day. I am still working on all areas, be it my striking or my grappling,” he explained. “I want to win this for the people who supported me in my heart-rending loss last March.”
Kongsrichai expects a challenging cage encounter against Miado, who was given a chance to turn his luck around in March by knocking out former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke.
“Jeremy Miado is a good striker. He knocked out a legend in Muay Thai like Dejdamrong three months ago. It’s going to be tough for me. But I believe in my ability. I will do my best. I’m ready for Jeremy Miado both physically and mentally,” he assured.
Should he defeat the Filipino at ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR, Kongsrichai would be one step closer to his ultimate goal of vying for the ONE Strawweight World Championship, which was once held by compatriot Amnuaysirichoke.
“My focus is to be a ONE World Champion at least one time in my life. I am fighting as a strawweight — the same weight class as Dejdamrong — and I want to go and bring that belt back to Thailand,” he ended.