SFL to make its India debut on Sunday

Mumbai: India`s first professionally organised mixed martial arts fighting league, the Super Fight League(SFL), promoted by Bollywood megastar Sanjay Dutt and NRI businessman Raj Kundra, will get going here Sunday.

Kundra, husband of actress Shilpa Shetty and owner of Rajasthan`s IPL team, has got together with Dutt to give Indian mixed martial artists a platform to compete along with talented fighters from different parts of the world.

Tomorrow`s event here, will be followed by events in Chandigarh (April 7) and New Delhi (May 6). Based on SFL rules adopted across the United States and other countries that regulate martial arts, SFL fights are contested over three five-minute rounds. It covers six weight classes from feather to heavyweight.

Kundra said India is an action-hungry country and this prompted him to launch the sport here. He said there was huge potential in India for mixed martial arts, which is a full combat sport comprising 36 different styles of fighting including karate, judo and kung-fu.

"There is so much potential. There are so many fighters from every corner of India that I can produce and why not put them onto a platform so that one day they become well known internationally as well," he told PTI.

He said he wants to inject more Indian blood into the event, especially in the women`s category. "I am waiting to introduce Indian female fighters, whom I am currently training. I have four of them at the camp at the moment and I will unveil them very soon," Kundra said.

The Super Fight League has tied up with Google`s popular video sharing website YouTube and Viacom 18`s Colors. "Youtube is watched all over the world and with most of the athletes coming from around the world we expect to get a lot of hits. In future we plan to make it paid view with India being free online and the rest of the world paying for it," he said.

After the first three events, there will be a two month break before resuming in other cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. The grand finale will be held in December with the two best in every weight category vying for championship belt.

The fighters will go at each other for three five-minute rounds in which the judges would decide the winner if neither of them is knocked out or has `tapped out` (quits). It would be the referee`s job to stop a fight if one of the fighters is unable to defend himself.