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Indian MMA: Priyanka Jeet Toshi opens up about her starting days in MMA

LockerRoom Team
05 August 2020

Priyanka Jeet Toshi has been a mainstay in the Indian MMA scene for a long time now. She was part of the first-ever SFL Challengers show and was also the first Indian female fighter to compete and the first Indian to win in ONE Championship.

The MMA star, who is currently in Bahrain, opened up about the initial days in Mixed Martial Arts to the Humans of Hindustan page where she revealed that she had initial resistance from her family.

She also noted that combat athletes in India struggle due to the lack of financial support and proper training facilities. Below is what she had to say:

“I am the first-generation sportsperson in my family. Initially, my family was against my decision to pursue a career in Combat Sports. They were of the view, as is the case with every typical Indian family, it's the boys that take up combat sport as a profession and girls are expected to get married or pursue a career which suits them. But I didn’t let go off my dreams and as I progressed in this sport, I gained the support of my family too. During my early years in Delhi, I started competing in kickboxing competitions. It was then in 2012, I was offered an MMA fight in FCC through a mutual friend. After that fight, I got the opportunity to represent my country in ‘ONE Championship’. I was the first Indian female to compete there and also the first Indian fighter (men & women) to won the same in 2015. And that’s how I turned into a professional MMA fighter.

In India, it’s an uphill battle for the fighters to make it at the professional level mainly due to the lack of adequate financial support & standard training. This made me shift to Bahrain in 2013. Since I have no sponsor, I have to find work for living and for supporting my travel and training expenses. I am working as a personal trainer at a UFC gym (in Bahrain). I need to earn enough to get a good gym for training as the opponents in ‘ONE Championship’ are highly trained and have internationally renowned ranking.

I love doing what I do; it keeps me moving forward even in the face of obstacles. I know what I want and I’ll get there. There are challenges but should that stop me from dreaming? The best thing about having dreams is when you make them a reality!," she said. 

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