"It is unfortunate that in a country that has over a billion people, we have just one sport to talk about," Raj Kundra, the founder of Super Fight League (SFL), hit at the onset of a media interaction at Hotel Taj in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Here for the promotion of SFL - claimed to be India's first professionally organised Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting league - along with co-founder Sanjay Dutt and COO Daniel Isaac, London-born and raised businessman Kundra drives home the point, "We aim to break the monopoly in a cricket-dominated market."
He says, "We give young boys a platform to get training in MMA and aim to put India on the MMA map. MMA started in the US 16 years ago but not many knew about it in India. So, with my brother Sanju, we took the lead to bring it here."
MMA is said to be the fastest-growing sport in the world and is a multibillion-dollar industry in the west. As for roping in Sanjay Dutt, Kundra, married to Bollywood celeb Shilpa Shetty, says,
"Sanjay knows more martial arts than me!"
Dutt does, as he informs, "I have been training in MMA by a coach from Liverpool, UK, for nine years now. I have managed to learn a lot in this art form. Also, my father (Sunil Dutt) supported sports in a big way; it's a dream to take my country to a level beyond imagination in sports."
So, is Munnabhai deviating from Gandhigiri to a "violent" path? "SFL is not against Gandhian principles; it teaches high levels of meditation and focus. It would be wrong to say that this art amounts to violence."
Kundra returns to his brainchild, SFL. "The beauty of MMA is that it's not staged, it's a real sport and we have a lot of Punjabis involved in it. Also, India is a better business model than any other country, as we have a huge population, and hence, audience."