Mixed Martial Arts in India and Kumite 1 League: A Step In The Right Direction
The first-ever edition of Kumite 1 League is set to take place in India, on this Saturday, 29th of September. The inaugural event of the Toyam Industries backed K1L is special for many reasons, but most of all for the potential that it has to finally bring about a change which has been over two decades in the making.
Mixed Martial Arts and India has a love-hate relationship. The cricket-loving nation is known for their fanatic devotion to the British-founded sport, so much so that the love for other sports seem negligible alongside them.
However, this is no longer true.
Football, professional wrestling, and now finally, Mixed Martial Arts are all feeling the love of the South Asian Nation. While football always had some preference, the idea of Mixed Martial Arts in an ordinary Indian household was preposterous.
Despite arriving late on the scene, MMA has made up for its late arrival with the fanatic support that it has drawn from India. The huge jump in the popularity of the UFC has resulted in a lot of eyes finally turning towards the sport. Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Georges St-Pierre, all have fanatical fanbases.
Despite this burgeoning rise in what is an incredible fan base for the sport, the casual fanbase is yet to be tapped. The target audience group of MMA is present in droves in India, representing an astounding 70% of the 1.4 Billion population. With such a large fanbase, there is a severe lack of options in the Indian Market for the fans to indulge in MMA.
In 2012, the arrival of the Super Fight League in the MMA scene created a huge upsurge in the MMA market, finally giving aspiring MMA fighters an outlet to ply their craft. Along with SFL, Full Contact Championship is another example of a promotion allowing Indian Fighters to find their feet.
One of the major things plaguing the sport has been the lack of gyms and infrastructure which would allow them to train. Due to this, there is a huge dearth of home-grown talent who the UFC would sign up in the future.
It is not that they lack interest, as they have been trying to enter the Indian market but their inability to do so with a fighter the country could get behind has caused them frustration.
The entry of the Kumite 1 League into the Mixed Martial Arts Scene at this stage is sure to cause quite a stir. Firstly, the inaugural event itself will see a huge theme of Team India taking on Team UAE.
There is a whole host of talent waiting to participate, and with a deal with Sony Six, the event will be telecast live on Saturday at 7 pm.
This is a huge step in the right direction, having secured a prime time spot already prior to their first-ever event.
With a strong sponsor in the shape of Toyam Industries backing them, K1L has the potential to be the difference maker in the Indian Mixed Martial Arts scene. Providing a platform for the top talent in the country to display their skills and put them against top fighters from abroad, K1L, in the future, could also be solely responsible for bringing Mixed Martial Arts to the forefront of the Indian consciousness.
The first event is sure to be successful with Combat Sports Legend Mike Tyson present on the scene, to make for a historic launch of the promotion. The following ones will only allow more and more aspiring MMA fighters to find their feet at what is sure to be one of the top MMA leagues in the country, and perhaps, in time, the world.
For now, with days to go before the event, every MMA fan in the country, and the MMA Scene in India, which is still in its infancy, looks on with bated breath and clammy hands, as K1L take their very first step--A step in the right direction.