By Caoilte de Barra
After 7 months without action MMA India successfully held the Indian Open MMA Championships from the 9th-12th of September. The last competition to go ahead before that was the National Championships, held from 18th to 21st of February 2021 in Lucknow Uttar Pradesh.
A month after those national championships, a second wave of COVID-19 hit India hard with the country only beginning to normalize in July. It was then that the Board of Directors decided to organise another event as the morale of coaches, athletes, officials and instructors alike had been completely shattered after restrictions put a halt to them travelling to various IMMAF events.
The event came about after the Madhya Pradesh Association, led by Shri Devendra Pratap Singh Tomar and General Secretary MP Association and Vice-President MMA India, Vikas Sharma spoke with MMA India President, Sharif Bapu. Following their proactive approach, the board decided to host the Indian Open National Championship. This competition will serve as a trial for team selection to represent India at the next World Championships.
The competition proved to be a success with 212 athletes competing across 4 days, with each day’s competition streamed live on the LockerRoom India YouTube Channel.
The event was a pivotal step forward for MMA India as it was the first time they operated with 2 cages and implemented the IMMAF weigh-in policy with no allowances. Lodging and boarding were also arranged at the venue itself making the event run much smoother. As expected, medals were given out, however, as a token of their appreciation, each category received Rs 5000.
The improvements in the event management and operational side of the tournament were historic for the federation. The step-up in hosting events attracted the attention of national politicians and Celebrities.
Shri Ramesh Mendola, President of the Madhya Pradesh State Olympic Association came for the Inauguration and applauded the positive morale of the fighters and coaches. For the final day of the competition, National General Secretary of the BJP Political Party, Shri Kailash Vijayvargiya was in attendance.
The competition itself saw a large number of fights occur over the 4 days with 2018 IMMAF Junior World Champion Mahboob Khan proving the highlight. The dominant champion continued his reign over the flyweight division after retaining his Gold Medal for the third successive year. This adds another feather to the cap of the young fighter that also added a National Championship to his list of accolades back in March. The full list of medallists from the event can be found here.
Following the event, a team of 15 athletes were selected and are now looking forward to taking part in the IMMAF World Championship later this year.