Top Muay Thai Fighter Saoek Receives Lifetime Ban After Admitting to Throwing Fight for $5,900

May 04, 2023
Following an admission to fight-fixing, Saoek’s gym owner and promoter have imposed a permanent ban on him.

On 28 April 2023, Pern Nakhon, Saoek's gym owner, announced after an internal investigation that Saoek Or Atchariya, a top 122 pounds Muay Thai fighter, admitted to taking a dive against Diesellek BuildJC for 200,000 Baht ($5,900) at a Petchyindee event on April 27. Saoek refused to name who hired him to throw the fight. In response, Nakhon declared a lifetime ban on both Saoek and Saotho and forbade any promoter from hiring them to fight in their events. Similarly, Sia Boat, the Petchyindee promoter, announced on his Facebook page that the twin brothers will be banned from his promotion for life. According to Sia Boat, Saoek has been detained for questioning at Nang Loeng Police Station in Bangkok.

The news came as a huge shock for Muay Thai fans worldwide, as Saoek was among the final three contenders for the '2022 Sports Writers Association of Thailand Fighter of the Year', the most prestigious award in Muay Thai. He is also one of the best fighters in his weight class and he would have had difficulties finding an opponent if he had beaten Diesellek.

Prior to the fight, Saoek and Diesellek had faced each other three times with one win each and one draw. Saoek was the favorite in this fourth meeting, but fight fans quickly pointed out during the match that Saoek did not fight to his ability. After losing the fight badly, Saoek was questioned by Sia Boat, and lied that he had injured his legs. But both the promoter and his gym owner were not convinced and conducted further questioning, resulting in Saoek's admission to throwing the fight.

In an interview with Muayded789, Sia Boat said that his team had learned who bribed Saoek and would pass the information to the police. Sia Boat emphasized that the fight-fixing was not caused because Saoek was poorly paid. He said that Saoek received around 100,000 Baht ($3,000) per fight, not counting a bonus that could double his purse, and his gym did not take a cut from his fight purse.

During a Facebook live, Sia Boat pointed out that 200,000 Baht ($5,900) was too low for a fighter of Saoek's caliber. He further noted that Saoek admitted that he was hired by a 22 years old, but Sia Boat was not convinced that this was the only culprit. He also added that Saoek was heavily addicted to a herbal drug, Kratom, several other addictive substances and gambling, so he was not in a good shape. Boat revealed that the gym also banned Saoek's twin brother, Saotho, because of his lack of discipline, especially in his fight against Petchsila Wor Auracha.

The police investigation into the match-fixing is ongoing. We could expect Sia Boat to look to ensure Saoek faces serious legal consequences, as he has done to Fahwanmai, another fighter under his promotion who threw a fight on national television.