Imphal: For the first time ever, a two-day Sangai Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) was orgainsed as part of the ongoing state-level Sangai Festival 2022 in Manipur‘s Imphal.
Over 48 MMA fighters, including eight international fighters and 12 professional fighters, took part in the event held on November 25 and 26 at Khuman Lampak Indoor Stadium.
Of the total 48 fighters, three were from Egypt and one each from Tajikistan, Iran, Ireland, Algeria, and Austria. While eight fighters were from Manipur, the rest were from different states of the country.
Organised by the 7 Sisters Foundation in association with UFC Gym Imphal, the Sangai MMA event aimed to promote the sport among the youths of the state.
“Manipur is a powerhouse of sports in the country and we have produced many MMA players. But the sport is yet to get due exposure in the state. That’s why we have come up with the idea of organising the event so that we can encourage our youngsters to pursue the dreams of becoming MMA players, which is the fastest growing sport globally,” said Rinkui W Shimray, organiser and proprietor, UFC Gym Imphal.
“International fighters from eight different countries took part in the event. The event aimed at educating youths more about the sport,” he said.
Speaking to EastMojo, Kerrith Brown, president of International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF), said, “Manipur has produced some of the most combat sports athletes in the country. MMA can be the sport the next generation can look forward to.”
He further said, “We want to create an atmosphere where the amateur players can hone their skills to become professionals and hope that one day Manipur will have an athlete representing the state as a UFC champion.”
Graced by Chief Minister N Biren Singh, the two-day Sangai MMA also saw MMA India president and AMMAF South Asia director Sharif Babu; UFC Gym India chairman Farzad Palia; UFC Gym India Founder and MD Istayak Ansari; former Miss India and actress Pooja Chopra in the attendance.
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