Current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin have roughly 10 years between them. But it’s tough to tell. The duo recently visited India on behalf of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which is touted as one of the largest companies that promotes mixed martial arts (MMA) in the world.
“I’ve been with UFC for over 100 championships. I’ve seen it grow,” says Franklin, who was a high school teacher before he shifted professions. “Fighting is common to everyone. It’s ingrained in us, which is why people relate to it as a sport,” says Franklin, explaining the sentiment that fighters like him cater to. “Every culture has its own tradition of combat. In India, it is kushti, isn’t it? People understand what it is like to struggle,” says Henderson, the younger of the two.
UFC’s partnership with Sony Six has made the channel the main destination for all the Championship’s programming in the country. But the highlight of the deal is that in 2013, an Indian edition of the American show, The Ultimate Fighter, will make its debut. Indian MMA fighters, in a first, will get a chance to hone their skills professionally through the show, the casting for which will begin soon.
Basics of MMA
“MMA consists of five sports — judo, taekwondo, both styles of wrestling and boxing. We have to be good at all five, while there are sports people who spend 20 years just practising one sport. A lot of the training is to perfect the skill,” says Henderson.
“Most countries are behind the US when it comes to supplementation. A lot of my protein comes from meats and eggs. I eat six meals a day, but sometimes when I’m not hungry it’s easier to put a shake in my body, which is where supplementation comes in. If protein supplements are bursting out of the market in India right now, you should know that there is no such thing as too much protein. What matters is the quality of the supplement. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money and that’s primarily your concern, not necessarily any damage,” says Franklin.