Andre is a mixed martial artist from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, who has competed in the CES-MMA, UFC and XFC. Known as the "Asian Sensation" he is the first Laotian American to compete in the UFC and proudly represents the Lao people globally. In 52 amateur and professional fights he has never been knocked out, submitted, or finished.
Muay Lao Fighter in and Out of the Cage
The call that every MMA fighter dreams of finally came in. The man they call the “Asian Sensation” had nine days to drop 25 lbs and get to Las Vegas for his UFC debut. Adversity was nothing new to Andre Soukhamthath and on March 04, 2017, he stepped into the cage with Albert Morales securing his place in history as the first Lao American to fight in the UFC.
Andre Soukhamthath was born in Providence, RI, to parents whom both resettled in the United States as Laotian refugees after the war. His family originates in the Savannakhet area. When Andre was a teenager his family relocated from Providence to Woonsocket. Living in a rough area he caught the attention of local gang members who were suspicious of the Providence boy from the rival territory. Defending himself became a routine task and Andre learned to fight.
His parents directed his teenage energy and attention into sports and away from the street life that surrounded him. He became a four-year varsity basketball player and stand-out soccer goalie at Woonsocket High School. As a two-time All-Division soccer player, team captain, and MVP he caught the eye of several colleges. The college plans were sidelined when his girlfriend Jamie, now wife, became pregnant and he shifted his focus to fatherhood and working full time. A friend recommended that Andre begin mixed martial arts training at a local gym as a way to stay active. After one lesson he was hooked. Short on cash and unable to pay for the classes he cut a deal with the gym owner. Andre would spend his evenings cleaning the gym, toilets, and towels after hours to offset the costs. Tragically, Andre’s son was born with a rare skin disorder, epidermolysis bullosa, and sadly passed away at nine months old.
MMA training helped Andre deal with his grief and he poured everything into the sport. His father had taken up Muay Thai while in a refugee camp and knowing the brutality of the sport tried to convince his son to find another outlet. He finally agreed to support Andre’s career with one stipulation, he would be one of his trainers.
Andre fought his first fight as an amateur about two years after his son passed and turned pro in September of 2011. During his first fight as a pro, he dropped his opponent with a single punch but the guy got up and went on to win by decision. Andre regrouped from the loss and went on to win seven straight fights during 2012 and 2013.
Andre was the reigning First CES MMA bantamweight champion when he joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) promotion. After losing a fight to Su Mudaerji in August of 2019 he was released from the UFC with a record of 2-7.
Andre has never been knocked out, submitted, or finished in a fight and the UFC setback was not going to slow him down. The covid-19 pandemic put things on hold for a while, but he returned to the ring in November of 2020 where he defeated Guilherme Faria by split decision in an XFC MMA match.
Andre and his wife Jamie reside in Florida with their two children. Jamie is a former Miss Teen Rhode Island with family origins in Vientiane and currently serves as Andre’s manager. They make a great team and are advocates for the Lao people and their hometown of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt gave Andre the key to the city in 2017 for his accomplishments and support of the local community. Oh yeah, and those gang members who use to harass him? They are now some of his biggest fans.
About this Article
Information for this article was gathered from: ufcstats.com, mmajunkie.usatoday.com, andresoukhamthath.com, Genius Brain Podcast (March 25, 2021), Big Shrimp Radio, The Body Lock (#22), The Only difference is U, Kumite TV, City of Woonsocket, and from Andre and Jamie Soukhamathath.