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Puja Tomar Expresses Disappointment Over Lack of Recognition Following Historic UFC Victory

LockerRoom Team
Calendar Icon11 July 2024

In a groundbreaking moment for Indian mixed martial arts, Puja Tomar etched her name in history by becoming the first-ever Indian fighter to secure a victory in the UFC. Competing at UFC Louisville, Tomar faced off against Brazil's Rayanne Dos Santos in a closely contested bout that saw her emerge victorious via split decision.

Tomar’s triumph not only established her as the first female Indian fighter to compete in the UFC but also as the third Indian to enter the octagon, following Bharat Kandare and Anshul Jubli. Kandare debuted in 2017 with a loss against Song Yadong, while Jubli, who secured his UFC spot by winning the Road to UFC Lightweight tournament, faced a defeat against Mike Breeden last year.

Despite the historic win, Tomar expressed her disappointment over the lack of recognition upon her return to India. In a press conference held yesterday, she shared her sentiments about the reception she received:

"When I won my fight at the UFC, thousands watched my fight. I was rushed to the hotel because everyone wanted to meet me and take a picture, I had made my motherland proud. I was so excited to come back to India and thought now people will recognize my efforts, unfortunately when I landed, it was just a few kids from my academy and few close family members. 1-2 ministers messaged me that they’ll help and introduce me to some people, but after a week it all dried up. I don’t even want money from the government, but at least recognize us. We had 300,000 people gathered for our cricket team but not even 30 when I returned," Tomar remarked, referring to the grand reception for Team India's T20 Cricket World Cup win under Rohit Sharma's captaincy in the West Indies.

Tomar’s comments highlight the disparity in recognition between different sports in India, and calling for the need for greater support and acknowledgment of athletes across all disciplines. 

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