Fightclub: Let's get ready to rumble | other | Hindustan Times
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Fightclub: Let's get ready to rumble

other Updated: Jan 16, 2012 23:58 IST
Deepti Patwardhan

Seeing two buff men have a go at each other inside a fighting ring has universal appeal. Add to that the razzmatazz of international pop stars, cheerleaders, ring girls entertaining the audience in spot lit arenas, and you have a perfect concoction for an adrenaline pumped evening.

At least, that's what Raj Kundra and Sanjay Dutt are hoping as they present India with the Super Fight League (SFL) - the country's first mixed martial arts league.

"There are lots of Leagues in alternate sports coming up, like hockey and i1 Super series (motor sports) but they don't have the glamour quotient," said Kundra during the SFL launch in Mumbai on Monday. "Entertainment is recession proof, and once you have Bollywood, (and) international performers, I am sure it will be a big hit. We will give them a show to remember."

You need to go past the glitz and gimmickry to get to the heart at mixed martial arts. It's a combat sport that combines 36 martial arts disciplines.

"But it is safe; and has a lot of rules in place," insisted CEO Ken Pavla. "It is not the human form of cock-fighting."

What the SFL is doing is re-packaging the impoverished mixed martial arts scene in India, and hopefully giving the fighters in the country a good enough platform to showcase their skills.

"Mixed Martial Arts has been present in India for a long time," said the COO, Daniel Isaac, who is also India's first world champion in kickboxing (1994). "We have lots of people in India who practice mixed martial arts, but to take the sport to this level we needed the support of entrepreneurs."

The SFL will sign fighters from India and abroad, in different weight categories, and pit them against each other. As of now they have 10 Indian fighters and four international fighters on board.