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MMA News: Wrestling icon Ritu Phogat transitions to MMA, joins super-camp in Singapore

25 Feb 2019, 23:49 IST

The Commonwealth Games 2016 Gold Medalist: Ritu Phogat
The Commonwealth Games 2016 Gold Medalist: Ritu Phogat

What's the story?

The iconic Indian wrestling star Ritu Phogat has recently announced retirement from her career in amateur wrestling, to pursue her career in the sport of MMA. Ritu Phogat, a household name in the world of wrestling, has made a shift to the Singapore based MMA organisation Evolve MMA, which is one of Asia's most decorated fight teams, with a view to develop as an MMA fighter and compete in the sport of MMA.

In case you didn't know...

Ritu Phogat has an elite pedigree of wrestling and has won numerous laurels internationally in freestyle wrestling. Ritu Phogat, competing in freestyle wrestling under the 48 kgs weight category, is a gold medalist in the 2016 Commonwealth Games, a Bronze medalist in the 2017 Asian Games and a Silver medalist in the Under-23 World Championships. Ritu Phogat also finished at the no. 5 rank in the 2018 World Championships.

Ritu Phogat is one of the very best female wrestlers in the world and was also the most expensive female wrestler in the 2016 auction of India's Pro Wrestling League. She is a member of the famous 'Phogat' family. Ritu Phogat is younger to Gita Phogat and Babita Phogat, both of whom are also wrestling champions and sports icons in India. Her sister Sangeeta Phogat and cousin Vinesh Phogat are also wrestling champions.

The heart of the matter

Ritu Phogat, aged 24 years old has decided to make the transition into MMA from freestyle wrestling and would be beginning her journey as an MMA fighter under the banner of Evolve MMA in Singapore. Ritu Phogat expressed excitement in the start of her new journey and also expressed gratitude towards her management team at Birbal Sports and Entertainment, a leading sports marketing agency in India.

“I am excited to have moved to Singapore to begin my new journey in mixed martial arts as a member of the Evolve Fight Team. My managers Birbal Sports introduced me to Evolve, and convinced me that this is the future. I look forward to the challenge of learning the various martial arts and broadening my skill set as a mixed martial artist. I believe Evolve MMA is the perfect place for me to make the transition into mixed martial arts and I am excited to learn from all the World Champions here in Singapore. I have a dream of becoming India’s first ever World Champion in mixed martial arts, and can’t wait to represent India on the global stage and make my nation proud,” said Ritu Phogat.

Speaking about Ritu Phogat's recent transition and her future, Ronak Dalal, Co-founder Birbal Sports and Entertainment, managers of Ms. Ritu Phogat said:

“MMA is very popular among the youth today and we wish to introduce the best to the Indian audiences. This is the first step for India’s foray into the world of MMA and Evolve MMA is the best fit for our Champion Ritu Phogat to convert into an MMA fighter. We wish Ritu becomes the first world champion for India.”

Evolve MMA ranks among the best academies in the world for MMA. The professional Evolve Fight Team includes ONE Championship World Champion Angela Lee, Former UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson, Former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos, MMA Legend Shinya Aoki and Kickboxing World Champion Giorgio Petrosyan.

What's next?

Ritu Phogat is the first top level amateur wrestler from India to make the transition into the sport of MMA. Traditionally it has been evident that amateur wrestlers ofter excel in the sport of MMA. The world has seen many high level wrestlers such as reigning UFC Champions Henry Cejudo, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Daniel Cormier, Tyron Woodley make their mark in the sport and emerge as one of the best fighters on the planet.

Ritu Phogat is taking her first step in a long journey of becoming a world champion in MMA, and possibly representing India on the biggest stage in the sport, the UFC. Ritu Phogat, by making the transition into MMA, might also open the door and pave the way for other Indian wrestlers to test the waters in the sport of MMA, and increase the representation of the country in the sport.

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