That was on Saturday night, in front of thousands at a very well organized and run One FC sanctioned MMA match at Naga World in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. On Monday when I took this photo, Rathana was already back to work, training foreign and Khmer beginners at his art, a little more subdued than normal and with a nice bruise on his check but no worse for wear. With a work ethic like that, it’s no wonder why we won.
Selapak sees a steady stream of people training in Khun Khmer, or traditional Cambodian kick boxing, every evening at 6 and then 7 pm; Britts, Italians, a ton of Frenchmen (who add their own distinct cultural scent to the mix,) and a few young Cambodians looking to impress Rathana.
His fight this past Saturday was a chance to avenge his only professional loss, a controversial decision given to Ironfist a year ago after Rathana stomped on his face. (Really, I didn’t know that kind of thing was discouraged?) My buddy Wicced who works for the Phnom Penh Post got us tickets, and when I showed up I had no idea Rathana was the main event.
So when I brought in my Fuji instant camera and asked my friend Rathana to pose with his championship One FC trophies, these weird black brick looking things) he gladly obliged. But when I gave him the photo as a memento of his victory and asked him to hold it up, my voice still hoarse from cheering, he stood even taller.
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