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Khmer MMA: An Emotional Homecoming

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Around a quarter of the population in Cambodia was wiped out by the Khmer Rouge but a lucky few were able to avoid the very real prospect of starvation, imprisonment or simply being worked to death by fleeing the country. Among them were the parents of Suasday Chau who decided to risk their lives in an attempt to escape after seeing many of their friends and family killed. They made it as far as Thailand which is where their son, who would go on to become a successful mixed martial artist, was born.


Eventually the family found refuge in Australia where Chau has lived since he was two years old but despite growing up in a Cambodian household and speaking Khmer with his parents he had never visited the country of his ancestors until this year. The 33 year old, who holds a pro record of 4-3, is booked to compete on the card of ONE FC: ‘Rise of the Kingdom’ in Phnom Penh on September 12th and having visited the country for the first time recently he plans to bring his father back with him next month.


“I have only been back once, in July this year but it was a very short visit, a meet and greet but for this fight my Dad, who has never felt comfortable going back home because he believed it would be too dangerous, will be travelling in support,” he said. For Chau’s Father it will be the first glimpse of Camboda in 30 years and while the country has been at peace for over two decades people who witnessed first hand the horrors of the Khmer Rouge have had their perceptions of the place permanently tainted. 

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