WATCH: Quick-thinking referee uses incredible reflexes to save KO'd fighter from slamming head on canvas
So Sovarathana scored a stunning, instantaneous knockout against Paeminburee after he landed a right elbow to the chin during a recent contest in Cambodia, sending his opponent plunging backwards to the mat - and in an effort to save the fighter from suffering further trauma, referee Sittichai Ineiad was forced to jump into action.
Milliseconds after the blow is landed, Ineiad immediately notices that Paeminburee is toppling backwards so in a moment of refereeing ingenuity, he places his hand behind the fallen fighter's head and follows as he falls, cushioning it from any further impact.
Several figures from within the martial arts community have since taken to social media to praise the official for his selflessness.
So Sovarathana with the hellbow knockout against Neymar at todays Muay Hardcore. pic.twitter.com/tBVruqVXEI— Beyond Kickboxing (@Beyond_Kick) February 15, 2020
Wow. What a mensch move by the ref. https://t.co/B33ue1n471— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 15, 2020
Referee of the year in the bag. https://t.co/kAZ4oeWAu0— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) February 16, 2020
Whether or not this is a practice often employed by Muay Thai referees is uncertain, but perhaps so given that a separate official attempted a similar thing during the same event - but he didn't quite have the same success as Sittichai Ineiad.
Refereeing is an often thankless task, particularly in combat sports where officials are regularly reprimanded by fans for stopping fights either too early or too late, but no one can deny the duty of care exhibited in this instance.Also on rt.com ‘I just prayed he got up’: Rising star Garcia OBLITERATES opponent with KO of the year contender (WATCH)