I sit down at the laptop and write my opinion about Pakistani MMA for the first time in years. I feel like I am back to where I started – writing about Pakistani MMA, the collective Pakistani martial arts journey of Pakistan and my journey within it. I started the mission of PAKMMA with nothing more than a facebook page, a blog and a couple of years of training under my belt. I had no professional fights, no name, and no idea what I was doing, just a belief that I was making the right decision. Since my initial move to Pakistan in 2009 for PAKMMA; I have competed in ONE, was covered by some of the largest media outlets in the world, became known as the Godfather of MMA, and now work for the worlds largest martial arts organization – ONE Championship. It’s incredible that what seemed like an irresponsible and illogical decision has now led me to the top of the martial arts industry. I am grateful and very often unable to process how this happened to me.
2 Years ago I wrote this blog post about the state of MMA in Pakistan. And…NINE YEARS ago, I had this blog post, wow…how life has changed. It’s been almost a decade since my heart made the call to move to Pakistan to promote martial arts.
I have been reflecting on what “PAKMMA” was nearly 10 years ago. It’s easy to get lost in what many people think PAKMMA is, and begin to believe other peoples perceptions. But it’s important to look back very carefully and try and remember what was really going on back in the days when Uloomi had just moved to Islamabad to study and had nothing more than a few years of Tae Kwon Do under his belt.
What PAKMMA was, is and could be in the future –
– First and foremost a blog where I could express my ideas and feelings about this mission to make Pakistan a nation that churned out elite martial artists like places such as Dagestan, Brazil, Thailand, Japan, and the USA do. If you look back at the early blog posts, a lot of it is about what I am doing at the time, how I am feeling, my reaction to certain events in Pakistani MMA journey.
– Secondly, a rallying point for like-minded individuals to share and discuss their own journey and subsequently collaborate with each other to help grow the sport.
– Third, a lifestyle. An identification for martial artists in Pakistan committed to evolving, getting better and improving the game in the nation beyond what anyone could have previously imagined.
– Fourth, a means to educate and train individuals in the proper training of the sport, in particular, those places that have no clue on where to start their MMA journey. To train officials so that when events take place there is a minimum standard of safety and fair play.
What it could be but probably won’t be – a federation. While PAKMMA can definitely serve as a point of support for the nascent MMA federation now being set up, PAKMMA is not the appropriate vehicle to serve as a federation. It can be the private wing of the said federation, it can be the prop and pillar for the establishment of the federation, it can be a check and balance on the legitimacy, fairness, and competence of the federation. PAKMMA is best suited to being the voice and representation of the MMA community of Pakistan.
As the sport grows there will be plenty of business entities and established power structures that will inevitably want a piece of the pie. This is good for the athletes, it is good for the sport, it is good for the fans. This is the beginning of the transition from community to industry and within this industry, PAKMMA can serve as the watchdog for those truly in the #PAKMMALifestyle