Andre Soukhamthath is an American professional mixed martial artist who currently competes in the bantamweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He signed his first UFC contract in early 2017 and became the first Lao-American fighter to be signed to the organization. Competing almost exclusively for CES MMA in his native state of Rhode Island, he was the reigning Bantamweight Champion at the time of signing to the UFC. As a champion on the regional scene, he quickly made an impact on the UFC as 'The Asian Sensation'. However, he lost his promotional debut match against Albert Morales at UFC 209 on March 4, 2017 and his next fight against Alejandro Pérez at UFC Fight Night 114 on August 5, 2017 – both by split decisions. He won his next bout against Luke Sanders in Fresno, California on December 9 via TKO in the second round to gain his first UFC win. He subsequently faced the 9-0 undefeated bantamweight fighter Sean O’Malley in the much-hyped match at UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 3 2018, but lost the fight by unanimous decision.
Childhood & Early Life
Andre Soukhamthath was born on October 13, 1988 in Providence, Rhode Island to William and Chanthalangsy Soukhamthath. Both his parents are Lao immigrants. His father, who had fled to Thailand during the Vietnam War, took up Muay Lao boxing in a refugee camp. His mother was adopted by an American family when she was a child and moved to the United States with her foster parents. Andre was a soccer star during his youth and had been granted scholarships to a number of colleges.
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Rise to Stardom
Andre Soukhamthath was initially interested in soccer and aspired to be a professional goalkeeper during his teenage years. He had even managed to bag several college scholarships thanks to his performance as a standout goalie. However, as he was preparing to go to college after completing his school graduation, a series of events happened that changed his career path entirely. His girlfriend Jamie became pregnant with their first child at the time, which forced him to let go of his soccer dreams. Instead of looking for a college opportunity as a goalie, he decided to look for a job so that he could take responsibility of his child. He got a petty job and around the same time joined the gym down the street from the place he used to work.
One of his friends drew his attention to professional fighting saying that he might enjoy boxing. He was soon addicted to it and never missed a single day of training. By the time he made his professional debut in 2011, he had an amateur record of 1-2. In the following years, he became the CES MMA Bantamweight Champion in the regional scene and bagged a contract with UFC in early 2017. He lost his first two professional fights via split decision and was on the verge of losing his UFC contract when he volunteered to fight Luke Sanders in Fresno, California, after his scheduled opponent was injured. He made a comeback with a knockout win against top prospect Luke Sanders in December, which earned him a new five-match contract with UFC.
Following his first UFC win, he was put against Sanders' teammate at The MMA Lab, Sean O’Malley, who was discovered during UFC's Tuesday Night Contender Series and was the star behind whom the organization was putting a lot of money. Responding to his trash-talk before the fight, Andre called him 'fake' in a number of pre-fight interviews stating that despite the hype behind him, he is more popular amongst actual MMA fans. While he eventually failed to stop his opponent's undefeated run, by the time the fight was over, he had become a star himself.
Andre Soukhamthath became involved in a relationship with a girl named Jamie in 2006 when he was still a teenager studying in school. The relationship quickly became serious after Jamie became pregnant with their first child just as he passed school. In 2007, she gave birth to their first child, son LeAndre, who was soon diagnosed with epidermolysis bullosa, a rare skin disease that causes extremely fragile skin and blistering. The child died after nine months, following which Jamie isolated herself from the world for almost five years, except from managing her husband. To cope with the loss, Andre focused more on his cage fighting. About five years ago, they relocated to South Florida and the atmosphere in the sunshine state has improved their mental state, especially his wife's, a great deal. The couple has successfully triumphed over dark times and are now the proud parents of two sons, Benson and Parker.