5 Unique Facts About MMA Star Chan Rothana In His Own Words

Dec 18, 2020

Chan Rothana is ready to step back into the spotlight.

This Friday, 18 December, the Cambodian mixed martial arts superstar will make his long-awaited return to the global stage at ONE: COLLISION COURSE.

Rothana is riding a three-bout winning streak, and if he can defeat Chinese knockout artist “The Hunter” Xie Wei at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, he would set himself up for an extraordinary 2021 and make his case for a top spot in the flyweight rankings.

Before the 34-year-old Phnom Penh resident jumps back into the Circle, he shares five facts about his life.

#1 He Moved A Lot

Cambodian flyweight Chan Rothana heads to the Circle

“When I was young, I didn’t have a permanent home. I was born at Site Two Refugee Camp, which is on the border of Cambodia and Thailand.

“My family escaped to there during the Civil War. My parents and siblings came back to Cambodia when I was around 4 or 5 years old.

“First, we stayed with my father’s relatives at Phnom Banteay Neang, which is in the Banteay Meanchey Province in Northern Cambodia.

“A few years later, we moved to the capital, Phnom Penh, and stayed there with my mother’s sister. We spent several years there before we could buy land in Chak Angrae​ commune and build a small home.

“During these times, it was very difficult for my parents to earn money to support the family.

“In Phnom Penh, my father was a doctor who went to patients’ homes when they contacted him, and he treated them, but it was still difficult because he was not a doctor under the Ministry of Health in Cambodia. So during his free time, he taught Kun Khmer.”

#2 He Dominated In Many Martial Arts

“I grew up with a lot of sports in my life.

“First, I trained Hapkido because Uncle Seng Bunsong, my father’s friend who lived in the United States, wanted me to be a trainer. I have a black belt in this sport, and I used to fight locally and internationally as part of the Cambodian national team.

“And then I switched to Bokator, a Khmer traditional martial art. A few years later, I switched to Yuthakun Khom, which is also a Khmer traditional martial art similar to Bokator.

“After that, I started to train Vovinam, and I won a silver medal in the Vovinam World Championships. I also used to train taekwondo, but not for long – I stopped in 2004 when I switched to Kun Khmer.

“I started to fight Kun Khmer when I was 17 years old. I spent several years in Kun Khmer. I used to fight a lot with local and international fighters. And in 2014, I decided to compete in mixed martial arts on the global stage of ONE Championship.”

#3 He Is Taken, Ladies

Cambodian MMA star Chan Rothana with his wife, two daughters, and friends

“My wife’s name is Cindy Coupon. She is a French woman who came to Cambodia with her parents. My parents-in-law came to Cambodia to open a French restaurant in Phnom Penh.

“Around 2005 or 2006, I met my wife when she came to train Yuthakun Khom with me. When I taught her martial arts, we got to know each other more closely, and then we fell in love.

“My wife said that she loves me because I am an innocent man who helps others. She didn’t think of me as poor or an athlete. She understands me and knows I work hard, and I love her loyalty. Now, we have two daughters.”

#4 He Was A French Chef

“When I lived with my wife at the beginning of our marriage – during a period of my Kun Khmer domination – I spent a lot of time helping my parents-in-law at their restaurant. 

“They taught me how to cook French food. Every day, I learned several dishes that I could prepare and cook.

“A few years later, my parents-in-law closed their business in Cambodia and they went back to France. And then, I stopped working at restaurants.”

#5 He Was A Tuk-Tuk Driver

“After I stopped working at restaurants, I continued my Kun Khmer career. During this time, I bought a Tuk-Tuk.

“I originally bought a Tuk-Tuk in order to take my wife to a school in Phnom Penh so she could teach the French language and then picked her up when she was done teaching.

“But when I had free time, I tried to find guests to drive, especially foreigners. I communicated in French or English in order to earn more money.

“I used my Tuk-Tuk for around two-and-a-half years, and then I sold it. From then on, I have been training full-time for my mixed martial arts career with ONE Championship.”

Read more: 5 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss ONE: COLLISION COURSE

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