From the streets and illegal rooftop fights to representing Pakistan in MMA: the story of BRAVE CF’s Mehmosh Raza
Mehmosh’s story is one of perseverance and determination; going against all odds and pushing oneself to the limits.
“Growing up, I was bullied a lot”, says Raza, who split his childhood between his home country of Pakistan and Ireland. “I did not fit in Pakistan nor in Ireland, I was made fun of constantly, for my looks, my accent and so on.
In Ireland, I would be involved in a fight every day after school. It was always the same crowd of boys, sometimes somes girls too, and there I was in the middle, getting into a fight with someone. Thankfully most of the time I would always win and then walk home with my sister as nothing had happened”.
But not all stories ended up well for the young Mehmosh. “In Pakistan, I was pounded by 15 guys. I remember I went to defend a friend that was being jumped by a few guys and all of a sudden, I was surrounded by 15 guys, beaten like hell. They hit me in the head a lot, up to the point I wasn’t even aware of what was going on around me anymore. A friend of mine who was into bodybuilding came blazing through all of them, hurled me over his shoulder, and carried me away. That was probably fun to watch for a third person but definitely it wasn’t for me at the time (laughs)”.
The daily scraps turned into a real passion and artform when a cousin visited from Canada and brought with him some tapes of Mixed Martial Arts fights - until that point, three words that Mehmosh had never heard next to each other.
“My cousin showed up with a few tapes of old PRIDE and UFC fights, he also had some boxing tips videos. Those are definitely the first memories I have of getting to know the sport and falling in love with it”, he recalled. “It was love at first sight, I spent several days watching fights and those tutorials over and over again but one fight in special stood out for me and was the one I watched more and that really made me a huge fan, it was Wanderlei Silva vs Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson in Japan”.
With a newly found love for MMA, Mehmosh now faced the obstacle of how to train in Pakistan, where the MMA scene was virtually nonexistent.
Through a friend, Mehmosh heard about illegal fights that used to take place on a rooftop and thought that would be a good way to start. This experience would change his life forever.
“They called those ‘smoker fights’ beatdowns if I’m not mistaken. Every few months, people would gather on those rooftops and participate in these secret fights.
You didn’t need experience, you just signed up; send them your name and weight, and they would match you with someone to fight. Knowing that, I went to a gym, hit a heavy bag for like a week and a half and said ‘this might be enough, I’m gonna sign up now’”, Raza told.
“I showed up with my friend at this rooftop, they checked my weight and matched me up with a guy who had fought over there a few times before”, he continued. “Well, as you can imagine, I got absolutely smoked (laughs). The only good thing about it was that right after it I knew I wanted proper mentoring and training and that was when I joined Team Fight Fortress and haven’t looked back since”.
Under the guidance of head coaches Sultan Ali and Ehtisham Karim Shaheen, Mehmosh Raza grew into one of the most promising and talented prospects not only in Pakistan but in the whole South Asia scene. He went abroad, fought in different countries and had the toughest experience he can recall inside the cage so far.
“I fought Igor Grytskiv which is probably my toughest fight so far. He was coming off seven back-to-back finishes all first-round armbars and I remember being smashed in the first round. He destroyed my patellar tendon, kicked it so bad that I had a Grade 1 ACL injury but I managed to turn it around and ended up winning. It’s a great story overall because the fight started with me being beaten up pretty bad and still won, it was a dramatic comeback”, he labelled.
Still relatively young, at age 25, and already competing at the highest level of the BRAVE Combat Federation, Mehmosh Raza has big plans.
“My legacy is everything to me. I want to put where I come from on the map for the right reasons. It’d be a very strong message to say that the best in the world is here, he comes from Pakistan, and he’s doing positive things. I want to leave a good message, help people become the best, and let them know that they can do good things, spread positivity and make the world a better place, inshallah”, Raza finished.