Organisers of a Mixed Martial Art event in Lahore demand an all-Hindu contingent from India for a better ‘entertainment value’
A mixed martial arts tournament organised in Lahore only wants Hindu fighters in the Indian contingent to “create more promotion in media and people.”
The tournament called Pak Fight Club and organised by Pakfornia Promotions in collaboration with the Pakistan government, has sent an invitation to Bandra based mixed martial arts training academy, Xtreme Fight Federation, but with a caveat.
Confirming this academy’s boss Sheikh Shafiq Ur Rehman said he had sent names of three boxers – two of which were Muslims.
But Pakfornia’s Operations Director, Shahzaib Ahmed, requested Shafiq through a chat message to send only Hindu fighters “because the Hindu names will create more promotion in media and people.”
The eighth edition of the event will host a total of three matches on March 29 where fighters have been invited from ten different countries including United Kingdom, Morocco, Phillipines, India, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Germany among others. India fighters have been invited to this tournament for the first time.
Shafiq said, “About 80 per cent of my fighters are Muslims. I had initially selected two Muslim fighters. But later the organisers requested me to bring all Hindu fighters.”
Caught by surprise, the odd request had left Shafiq quite upset and he had almost pulled out of the event. But he changed his mind later and has decided to field Bala S. (21) and Mohit Singh (18) along with Udit Singh Thakur (22).
The three fighters who have trained under Shafiq will travel to Lahore and compete in three freestyle matches.
When contacted, Shahzaib agreed to have made the request for all Hindu fighters on behalf of his company. “The people in Pakistan are very excited to watch the fights. We made this particular request only because it’s easier for the public to recognise and distinguish between the names of our own fighters. It is only for the purpose of entertainment,” said Ahmed.