Written by PAKMMA President Bashir Ahmad
On April 7th in Chandigarh, Punjab India, Super Fight League held it’s second event. Due to our long relationship with Tiger’s Gym India, MMA Pakistan was able to attend the event cage side and catch all the action before the fights, during the fights and after the fights, as well catch all the goings on behind the scenes.
Having attended many different MMA events, from local shows in Pakistan, local shows in the USA, to well known professional events like Ultimate Warrior Challenge and The Ultimate Fighting Championship I have seen the full spectrum in terms of quality of production.
Super Fight League was definitely up there and it was fascinating to see things being set up.
I got to the arena a few hours before the show began and took a look around. The show was being held in a circus ground, so unlike what some reports are stating it was not an arena. This made it all the more impressive because essentially everything that you saw at SFL 2 was built on a dirt plot. There was an army of people working at all times and backstage was a buzz of activity with separate rooms for the VVIPS like Sanjay Dutt and Raj Kundra, a separate room for the dancers, a kitchen, production rooms, warm up areas etc. It was all very well organized and running smoothly due to the fact that the entire production team had years of experience in Bollywood. I watched as the dancers practiced their moves, a Hindu priest sat on the floor with the production manager doing a ritual to bless the event, and sweepers with typical South Asian brooms swept the carpets relentlessly.
Cage side, hours before the event the lights and camera crews were rehearsing the show. Raj Kundra was on stage practicing his lines and Sanjay Dutt was just hanging out somewhere. That guy only appears when he needs to and has a team of 20 security personnel at all times to make sure he does not get mobbed. As I walked through everything I went up to cage, and got a close look at it and the cage is not as big as it looks on screen. It’s a regular professional size cage and I am quite sure that the reason it looks so big is because the camera work. Maybe they are using a wide angle lens or something, but the cage is definitely not abnormally big as some people have stated.
The show began on time with a concert, which was interesting. Not really my thing as I am not into Bollywood and had no idea who was famous and whatnot. Nonetheless I had heard many of the songs here in Pakistan and I am assuming they are major hits so that made the time pass.
Another things to note. While many people have criticized the “Come for the concert stay for the fights” I actually noticed the opposite. People were coming in after the concert and the arena began to fill up more once the fights started.
The fights themselves were very good and I think the Indians impressed more on this card than they did on the last one. Bharat Khandare with his power and brutal slams and Anup and Ranjeet with their aggression and professional poise. All three fighters had finishes and have definitely put themselves on the radar as fighters to watch. It was personally very satisfying to watch Bharat’s fight as I have trained with him before and I consider him a friend. A very nice guy and a very humble guy from a poor background, he comes a family of sweepers which in South Asian society is near the bottom of the hierarchy. I wish him the best in his career and hope the opportunity that SFL has given him will help him change the life of his family. That being said, I cannot wait to have Pakistani fighters meet the challenge and make a name for themselves by defeating this guy in the cage .
An interesting thing that I noticed is that the biggest cheers from the Indian crowd came when someone took the other down or when there was a reversal of position and someone ended. Obviously the loudest of these cheers came when it was the Indian fighter getting the advantageous position. But it really shows the importance and understanding that the crowd has for wrestling. In that respect the Indian fans are more educated and sophisticated about this facet of the game than other places which have more developed MMA scenes. We’re not talking about MMA fans here but average joes who have never seen MMA being enthralled MORE with the ground game than the striking.
The main event had the ending that we all wanted and expected with Duffee knocking Grove out within the first minute but like Dos Santos vs Vleasquez on Fox, it came a little too early to satisfy everyone’s wants to see a heavy weight war. But that’s something that happens in the game and it’s great to see a knockout but sometimes we want a little bit more of a build up. But hey, like I said, it happens.
That’s a basic summary of the event. The after party also happened to be quite awesome. TV and movie stars were hanging out and enjoying taking about the fights and many of the fighters got their interviews taken for TV.
Overall it was a great experience and a big thanks to my friends at Team Tigers who took care of me throughout. Expect some more posts about the event and going into details about SFL and the PAKMMA’s visit to India in general. For those of you who missed the show you can watch it on youtube.com/sfl
If your more interested in just seeing the results Here you go.
Todd Duffee defeats Neil Grove by KO, Round 1
Colleen Schneider defeats Cherie Buck by TKO, Round 2
Ricky Singh defeats Salika Senanayake by TKO, Round 1
Anup Kumar defeats Dilanga Rathnaveera by Submission, (Rear Naked Choke, Round 2)
Alexander Shlemenko defeats Ikuhisa Minowa by TKO, Round 1
Bharat Khandare defeats Soro Ismael by TKO, Round 1
Pierre Daguzan defeats Chaitanya Gavali (29-28)
Ryan Healy defeats Paul Kelly (30-27)