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From hospital bed to Gold in MMA India Nationals: Shabarish details journey

LockerRoom Team
Calendar Icon23 June 2022

Tamil Nadu’s Shabarish has been a mainstay in the Indian MMA circuit for quite some time now. Fighting out of Combat Kinetics in Chennai, Shabarish is one of only eight Indian MMA fighters to secure a win for India at the Senior IMMAF World Championships.

A multiple-time National Champion in MMA, Shabarish recently added another gold to his resume when he secured a win in the Fifth MMA India Nationals which was held in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh.

Though Shabarish made the run to gold look easy, behind the scenes, it wasn’t the case. He had to go through a tough phase to capture the gold and recently, Shabarish detailed the hurdles that he had to overcome to reach his goal. You can read his story below.

“In the Year 2021, September, I was about to compete in MMA Nationals as part of the selection trials for Team India at the IMMAF World Championship. 3 weeks before the fight, I tested positive for COVID-19. Fu*king hell really now? Why not last month or any time after?

I was so devastated and I lost hope. But my coach Ajit Sigamani didn't give up on me. He gave me hope and said just take a test after 14 days of quarantine and let's decide. If it's negative, why don't you compete

I was quarantined at the Gov COVID-19 camp. I was so sick during the first week of quarantine and began to feel so weak. After a week I started to feel fine. I got permission to start training at the COVID camp with some shadows drills. After few minutes I started to feel like puking. My legs and arms were so heavy, that I was breathless at the end of a very light workout itself.

My cardio condition was so shit and I was like I am going to get super fu*ked in the fight if I don't fight smart.

Luckily my tests came negative, I trained shadows at home the next few days and went on to compete in the Nationals.

In each and every fight I had to go through war with myself and guess what I made into the finals. The final was one hell of a fight. It was so close and I had to give everything I had in me to the win the fight and secure the gold

P. S. We had daily weigh-ins and I had to cut 3kg every day during the championship.

I thought I would never be in a situation like this again but guess what...? The year 2022...2022 Asian Championship selection trials were around the corner and I had this hole in my ear drum which happened during a boxing tournament back in 2019. The doctor suggested going with surgery but I was seeking to heal with medications and it didn't work out. Later I found, that I had no other option other than going through surgery to patch up the hole.

After the surgery on 9 March 2022, the doctor strictly advised no training for the next month and lifting anything heavy which would rupture the ear drum. So, for 1 month I had to sit at home.

On 22 March 2022, MMA India announced that it will conduct its National Championship from 19th - 22nd May which was a selection trial for Asians.

During my 3rd check-up doctor gave a good review of my ear. The hole was patched up with no sign of infection. I asked him about the competition he said yes you can compete but if I get hit on my ears, he can't promise anything. I started training on April 15 and the fight was on May 19.

I hardly had one month to prepare for the nationals. At that point of time, I was planning to sit out of this championship and be safe. I had a word with my coach and he said 1.5 months’ time is sufficient for the ear to heal up and gave me an option, why don't you compete? You were already going through some serious training, one month gap isn't going to affect you much you can get back into fight fit in one month.

So, I decided why don't I seize this opportunity to make a remarkable comeback inspiring many people also I love challenging myself.

On April 14, I started my training with the basic school of boxing drills and after two weeks started technical sparring. When I thought my situation won't get any worse than this, GOD was like a surprise Fu*ker, I got hit with a head kick and started bleeding from the nose. Every time after that I get touched/hit in the nose again I bleed nonstop. Due to this injury, I wasn't able to spar anymore.

I would have trained for 1 month, sparred twice, and went into another war during the last Nationals which happened last month. The rest is history. And that’s how I do it #iamafighter.”

ALSO READ | IMMAF Medallist Vridhi clinches another Gold medal at 5th MMA India Nationals

With the win, Shabarish is on his way to another international IMMAF Event where he hopes to wave the Indian flag high again.


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