Muay Thai referee praised for diving to canvas to catch head of knocked out fighter

A mixed martial arts official has become a viral sensation for his quick reactions and care for a fighter moments after he was knocked out.

Referee Sittichai was officiating a bout at Muay Hardcore in Bangkok yesterday between Muay Thai fighters So Sovarathana and Neymar when he stepped in at the perfect time.

So landed a brutal elbow in the second round to end the fight with Neymar left unconscious while he was still standing.

As Neymar fell backwards to the canvas Sittichai lunged to get his hand behind the fighter's head, catching it before it hit the canvas to prevent any further harm.

As So went off to celebrate, Sittichai was already checking on Neymar and removing his mouthguard so he could breathe easily.

The referee's efforts were applauded online as footage of his actions went viral with MMA analysts calling it some of the best actions they've seen.

"Referee of the millenium," former Sky Sports analyst Ben Kiely wrote.

"That is a world-class referee," radio hos Luke Thomas added.

Even those in the UFC took notice with featherweight fighter Cub Swanson applauding the display.