Indian MMA

How MMA can create stars in India like Cricket? Mohammed Shahid details

BRAVE Combat Federation President Mohammed Shahid believes that MMA can create stars in India just like cricket.

In an exclusive interview with us, Shahid opened up about the change in paradigm that is required in the global MMA ecosystem. He took the example of cricket in India and noted how MMA can be as big as cricket in the country.

As per Shahid, the change will happen when MMA shifts from an individual sport into a team sport where national pride is involved. The MMA Super cup hosted by Bahrain last year is a major step towards the same. Below is what Shahid had to say about cricket and MMA in India.

Shahid details how MMA can be like Cricket in India

“I have a huge history with India you know and every time I go to India, I hear people say you know what everybody's only supporting cricket everybody's only supporting cricket

I tell them one thing: What do you want them to support more than cricket? You want them to support MMA as MMA won the world cup for your country?

This factor is crucial, you have to understand that when you give something back to the country, you will get the due. The country will respect you, the nation will be behind you.

Ofcourse, we are a new sport like every other sport. You have to see why they support one sport specifically.

I think to create stars [in MMA like cricket], it has to be a fighter that brought finance into your country, economy into your country. A fighter that was able to take that beautiful MMA Super Cup trophy back to your country when the whole world is watching and saying this country is the number one in the world.

If an athlete makes that happen, he's going to be a bigger star than Conor or Khabib or anybody else because these are athletes who became superstars in the industry or the structure that is there today. 

However, the future of this industry is when an individual can become a factor in national pride. You know, when they can contribute back to a country, to a whole new nation, to the youth of a nation, that's where the difference is going to be.

I believe that it's not just only inspiration, I mean so many athletes like Conor have given inspiration back to their country and it's a big factor for the Irish MMA to grow definitely but we need a new structure where it's not in the hands of an individual to do that.

It's in hands of promotions and governing bodies and we take that responsibility to say that we don't want every athlete to be Conor McGregors or Khabib Nurmagomedovs.

You know, we just want to have a structure where they can come and perform and sports can be the only variable that can make that decision of how big they can be.

So if they have talent as a variable and they come and compete and win we will arrange a platform for you to become that superstar that will give back to your country and your country will have their eyes on you and the world will have their eyes on your country.”

The love for Cricket in the country

Cricket is the most popular sport in India and is part of the Indian culture as well. The nation has witnessed the rise of global stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli among others.

Interestingly, the Indian Cricket Board, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the richest cricket board in the world. The sport follows a well-defined structure in the country which includes multiple domestic tournaments like the Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Deodhar Trophy, and the Irani Trophy among others.

The country also hosts the Indian Premier League which is the most attended cricket league in the world.

MMA: Still a niche in India

MMA has seen explosive growth in India over the past decade. The sport, however, still has a long way to go. MMA is still not recognized as a sport in India by the government which has slowed down its growth.

The country, however, has an active MMA circuit which hosts Amateur and Professional events across the year. A string of Indian MMA athletes has found success on international platforms as well including promotions like ONE Championship, and BRAVE Combat Federation.

What do you think of the take from Mohammed Shahid? Can MMA grow like Cricket in India? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section of the article below.