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First contact with the sport

other Updated: Aug 10, 2009 01:05 IST
Deepti Patwardhan
Deepti Patwardhan
Hindustan Times
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Grown up men entered the ring with bravery and bravado. While some left victors, with arms raised and taking in the applause, the others went out dazed and disfigured.

Everyone was cheered on. Hearts thumped to the loud music in the small room and the crowd got intoxicated on the alcohol and adrenaline as kicks and punches flew fast and strong at the first Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight night in India.

"It was a wild evening," said Prashant Kumar of Full Contact Championship who brought the event to life on Saturday evening in Mumbai. "I was a little apprehensive to begin with. But the response was amazing. We can understand men enjoying the fight but even the girls there were into it!"

The MMA format welcomes fighters from all disciplines of combat sports and is a little easy on the rules. Even as Mumbai got its first taste of the sport, it was a memorable night for the participants. Fighters from all around the country found a platform to display their art.

"We had to fight but at the same time I also wanted to show people the intricacies of the sport," said Khushnoor Jijina, a judo specialist. As for the crowd, the striking force was enough to draw gasps.

India's no.2 squash player Ritwik Bhattacharya also joined the crowd. "It was intense," he said. "Their athletisism inpires you to train harder."

It did not need an athlete to recognize the other. Beneath all the rowdiness surrounding it is the immense respect for fighters, who walk into the ring respecting their opponent and his art and the awareness of the pain they can inflict. It is this thrill of the one of one combat that might be difficult to miss.