Opponent's arrest leads to cancellation of Soukhamthath's MMA fight at Twin River
Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc. president Jimmy Burchfield (left) announces to the crowd at Friday nightâs CES MMA XXIII show at the Twin River Event Center that the co-feature fight between Woonsocket bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath (right) and Ohio native Joshua Killion was cancelled because Killion was arrested before the start of the show by the Rhode Island State Police. PHOTO BY ERNEST A. BROWN
Andre Soukhamthathâs opponent on Friday nightâs âCES MMA XXIIIâ show at the Twin River Event Center left the Lincoln casino a loser.
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And while that may be good news to Soukhamthathâs fans who were unable to attend the Woonsocket bantamweightâs fight, the real news was that Soukhamthath also didnât leave Twin River that night a winner.
The only thing that won was the law -- namely the R.I. State Police, who 15 minutes before the start of Friday nightâs show, arrested Soukhamthathâs opponent, Joshua Killion, as a fugitive from justice. Killion was wanted by the Defiance (Ohio) County sheriffâs office for a felony assault charge.
While Killion was taken into custody in a dressing room away from the cage, Soukhamthath was inside it with a teammate from his Blackzilians MMA team in Boca Raton, Fla., Providence native Sean Soriano. After âfeeling out the cageâ and talking about the show with Soriano, Soukhamthath exited it, only to be greeted by the bad news that he wouldnât be fighting in the nightâs co-feature.
âWhen I got out of the cage, one of the other fighters came up to me and said, âI donât think your fightâs on,â â noted Soukhamthath. âI said, âNo, no, itâs not my fight. Itâs someone elseâs.â But then I saw (manager) Jamie (Thompson) and the look on her face. She said, âIs someone going to tell him?â and I said, âWhatâs going on?â Thatâs when I got told that my opponent got arrested.â
The showdown between Soukhamthath (7-2, 4 KOs) and Killion (10-4, with eight of those wins by submission) was one of the most anticipated fights among the nine on the card.
To Soukhamthath, who suffered a close unanimous-decision loss to Kin Moy of Cambridge, Mass. back on Jan. 24 at Twin River (his first defeat after reeling off seven straight wins), a victory in this matchup would have been just what the doctor ordered in getting him back on track.
But the fight never materialized.
âWhat can you do?â said Soukhamthath. âI was upset. I was frustrated. I felt great all day and all night. I wanted to win so badly and get back on the winning track. (Killion) would have been a perfect opponent, and if I would have beat him, it would have put me back on track, back on the radar. It was a good opportunity, but I didnât get that opportunity.â
While Soukhamthath was upset, none of his anger was geared toward Killion, a resident of Findlay, Ohio, who like Soukhamthath, turned pro in late 2011.
âIâm not judging him,â said Soukhamthath. âI feel bad for him. He came all the way down here, he weighed in, and he was ready to fight me -- I could see it in his eyes. And I know he didnât want to get arrested either.â
Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc. president Jimmy Burchfield and Soukhamthath eventually entered the cage together midway through the show, and to the dismay of the local fight fans on hand, announced the news of the fight being cancelled.
âI went in the ring and I apologized to everybody, trying to be professional,â added Soukhamthath. âMy fans that bought tickets and wanted to watch me fight didnât get to see what they wanted, and I felt bad.â
So whatâs next for Soukhamthath? When will he fight again?
âI donât know,â answered Soukhamthath, who plans to spend the week in the area before heading back to Boca Raton. âIâm going to keep training, and whatever comes (my way) comes. Iâm going to take any opportunity I can get. And it has to be a good opportunity.â
Follow Eric Benevides on Twitter @EricBen24