Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra aims expansion of Mixed Martial Arts

Raj Kundra hopes Mixed Martial Arts will emerge on India’s sporting map in years to come AFP

Chandigarh: Apr 3, 2012

IPL team Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra, who along with Bollywood superstar Sanjay Dutt is the promoter of the Super Fight League, today said he wants to break the cricket-dominating market through the new league.

Kundra, who along with Dutt, addressed media persons here this evening, said he hopes that Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), over the years to come, will emerge on India’s sporting map.

Asked if it was ironic that he wants to “break the cricket-dominating” market since he along with his Bollywood star-wife Shilpa Shetty also own Rajasthan Royals, Kundra said, “India is a nation of over a billion people. Other sport also deserve to flourish here. Cricket is already well established in our country”.

The SFL, India’s first professionally organised MMA event, started in Mumbai last month.

The format promises sportainment and fights will be preceded by 45 minutes of live Bollywood entertainment from leading Bollywood stars.

The League will run around the year in different cities, with Chandigarh all set for action on April 7 followed by New Delhi on May 6.

“Mixed Martial Arts is a new sport to India. It is currently a craze in the US. I would call this sport as an organised street-fight. Think of SFL as a Bollywood movie where you will get great entertainment with some action,” Kundra added.

To a question, Kundra said it’s going to be “real fight” and nothing will be “staged”.

“We will also be keeping two ambulances and paramedics on standby just in case…,” he said.

Dutt, who was shooting in Patiala, about 65 km from here for his film ‘Sons of Sardar’, said MMA was not in contrast to some of his “Gandhigiri” roles espousing non-violence.

“MMA teaches you to be at peace with yourself and others… I have also trained in some martial arts and had trainers from Liverpool, UK, stay with me for nine years,” Dutt said.

Kundra also revealed that he was hoping to introduce Indian female fighters, in September this year.

The Indian fighters are being trained at a camp in Nashik in Maharashtra, he informed.

At present Ukrainian Lena and Serbian Sanja are the two women athletes in the sporting event.

“There is huge potential in India for mixed martial arts, which is a full combat sport comprising 36 different styles of fighting including karate, judo and kung-fu,” he said.

The league has signed up over 50 international fighters, who will also train players in the country, the British born businessman added.

The mixed martial arts industry is valued at USD 2.2 billion in the US and is the fastest growing sport there, he informed.

The Super Fight League has tied up with Google’s popular video sharing website YouTube and Viacom 18’s Colors to reach to the global audience.

The event will have a two month break before reaching other cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

The grand finale will be held in December with the two of the best fighters in each weight category vying for championship belt. (PTI)