This post was written by PAKMMA rep Ali Naseer from Karachi.
This post is about the first MMA event that took place in Karachi on the 28th of January 2011, it was organized by the “S3” a.k.a Supreme Shin Shot which is the team trained under Guru Gohar Gul. The event was posted/finalized on their facebook fan page on Monday, 24th of January, 2011 and me being a citizen of Karachi, member of Mixed Martial Arts Pakistan and an avid Mixed Martial Arts fan, had to check out and hopefully compete at the event. After the success of the events held by Shaheen MMA Academy in Lahore, it was time for Karachi to step up and play its role in spreading and promoting Mixed Martial Arts in the city as well as the country. Keeping in mind that this wasn’t an event organized by a big company or promotion but merely organized by a bunch of guys who love the sport and want it to spread all over the country, so there was no ring, no cage nor even mats on the ground, only a grassy surface over which the fights were to take place. Did the event lack anything? Certainly not. It had all one needs to arrange an event, fighters who want to fight and people who would cheer them on, and both were present.
The event was being held at Amir Khusro Park, Clifton and I reached the location around 6:30 and by the time I came, the participants and the S3 students had started to warm up. I joined in and met up with the head coach Gohar Gul, after the warm up I met up with the fighters and the S3 students and got to know the guys. After that, the guys starting warming up on their own, some shadow boxing, some hitting the pads and some stretching.
A total of 4 matches took place at the event. These are the list of matches that happened at the event.
Match 1: Submission Grappling
Ali Naseer (65 kg) vs Umar Aga (75 kg)
Me being a Brazilian JiuJitsu (BJJ) guy was hoping to engage in a grappling/submission wrestling match, and asked if anyone was available to do so, one of Gohar’s students, Umar Aga had accepted the match, since he was fighting later that evening we decided to keep it light and due to the fact there were no mats present we started from the knees.
Round 1: There were 3 two-minute rounds set for the match, the person who gets the tap wins. We started out from the knees and quickly Umar went for the clinch, we sprawled and it ended up with Umar being in side control, I tried to roll back to get him in my guard during which Umar transitioned and gained mount from where he attempted an armbar, I managed to yank my arm out of it and then we ended up sprawling back to our feet. The match continued from the standing position because both of us had found our rhythm and getting back on our knees seemed unnecessary, after that Umar and I played cat and mouse during which he again went for the clinch, I swimmed to reverse the position during which I left my neck out and Umar immediately jumped for an arm-in guillotine, the guillotine was tightly locked and Umar was continuously applying pressure but I had enough room to breathe while I kept my cool, knowing that he would eventually gas out his arms I stayed in the guillotine thinking he would let go soon so I can advance my position, I stalled enough to feel the pressure minimize however the round ended.
Round 2: The 2nd round we started off again from the knee position, Umar again went for the neck to clinch, we fought for position after which he ended up in my half guard from where I pulled off the lockdown to keep him from passing and I could get under hooks and try to sweep him, maybe it was the weight difference or maybe my lack of strength but I wasn’t able to control him much from the lockdown position, Umar tried yanking his foot out of the position to which I let go and we ended up sprawling and found ourselves back on our feet. From there the clinch war took place, both guys pummeling and swimming to get the clinch, I at one point had the clinch, which I used it to bring his head down in an attempt to go for a guillotine choke, from which I wrapped my hands around his neck and put all of my weight back and as I did that he yanked his head out from the grip and I fell head first on the ground, which led to me sounding like I was talking in gibberish for the next few minutes or so, however the fight was then called off due to injury, according to some guys his head slipped out of my grip due to the sweat on his head against my rash guard making it slippery but regardless he got out and that’s all that counts, the match officially never came to an end because nobody was declared the winner or maybe it was considered a no contest, never the less Umar Aga was the more aggressive grappler and technically he should be the winner due to positional advantage and submission attempts.
Match 2: Muay Thai (no elbows)
Hamza Afridi (60 kg) vs Ali Nasir (70 kg)
The next match was a Muay Thai/ Kick Boxing match between 2 of Gohar Gul’s students, Hamza Afridi and Ali Nasir, elbows were prohibited in the fight however knees were legal. Hamza having a 10kg weight disadvantage stepped up to fight Ali, who was heavier and more experienced than him. The match was scheduled to be 3 two-minute rounds of Muay Thai.
Round 1: Being the more experienced of the 2, Ali came off aggressive delivering solid hooks and body kicks, Hamza was looking to close to the distance to get the clinch and start dopping some knees however every time he came close to get the clinch Ali delivered solid punches to keep the distance between them. This went on back and forth as both guys refused to slow down, during which Hamza throwed in some flying knees in an attempt to close the distance and get the clinch which he successfully got, and starting landing a bunch of knees on Ali, however being the more experienced fighter Ali turned the tables to get the clinch himself and started throwing knees, mixing his strikes from head shots to leg shots, which consequently connected with the groin area of Hamza and he was hurt bad. Showing the warrior heart he has, Hamza quickly recovered from the groin shot and continued with the round, the clock was ticking and Ali was pressurizing Hamza with solid 1-2 combinations to finish the round.
Round 2: The 2nd round started off similarly as it ended, Ali throwing solid combinations with full power and Hamza trying to avoid them but still gets tagged with a few. This time Hamza starts off his punches with jabs, moving in with every jab and closing the distance to work for the clinch, however tragedy struck again when Hamza again got hit in the groin area while in the clinch. Amazingly he recovered and this time he came back guns blazing, throwing in some flying knees in the process and closing the distance, Ali tried to counter back with some solid 1-2’s but Hamza’s intensity proved to be more effective and he got the clinch, apparently 3rd time wasn’t the charm for Hamza as he AGAIN got hit in the groin while kneeing in the clinch, after that blow the fight was called off and Ali was declared the winner as he was catching Hamza with more punches and power.
Match 3: Kick Boxing (no elbows, no knees, no clinching)
Shahid Siddique vs Shaad Shamim
The 3rd fight of the night was supposed to be a Muay Thai match with no elbow strikes; however, a last minute change turned it into a Kick Boxing match with no elbows, no knees and no clinching. Saad Shamim, a member of the S3 and student of Gohar Gul and Shahid Siddique who has also trained with Gohar Gul, were facing off with each other. This was also a 3 two-minute round fight.
Round 1: As soon as the referee signaled the start of the fight, Shaad started out with a spinning heel kick that almost missed Shahid’s face, Shaad started by keeping the distance by throwing kicks, noticing that Shahid went into defence mode, he took advantage of the situation and started throwing brutal punches which caught Shahid off guard. The fight was restarted from the centre due to the combatants moving out of the area while brawling, and again as soon as the fight started Shaad delivered a flurry of punches that connected numerous times with Shahid’s chin, Shahid tried to defend the shots by throwing counter hooks but they proved to be ineffective against Shaad’s strikes which ended up dropping him. They restarted the fight with both fighters standing and much like before Shaad started to throw some combinations with bad intentions which Shahid couldn’t defend properly and ended up walking away from without intelligently defending himself, exposing him to further punishment which resulted in him being dropped by a solid hook delivered by Shaad, thus ending the fight via TKO.
Match 4: Muay Thai (no elbows)
Kashif Kamal (113 kg) vs Saad (90 kg)
This was an online challenge match that got set up on facebook, Umar Aga was supposed to fight Kashif Kamal in case he couldn’t find an opponent, however the size difference was really vast as Kashif, the 6’3” 250 pounder heavy weight was set to go against 5’7” 165 pounder Umar Aga, however a student of Gohar Gul, Saad, who stood at 6’1” and weighed 198 pounds stepped up to face Kashif in a Muay Thai match, for 2 two-minute rounds in which elbows were prohibited while knees were not. This was the last fight of the event and it ended with a bang.
Round 1: The fight started out with Saad throwing heavy body kicks and head kicks which were defended by Kashif, after which both the fighters traded punches, Saad going for hooks and crosses while Kashif bobbed and weaved and went for body shots, the exchange continued during which Saad connected with a right hook to the head followed by a right body kick, while Kashif answered with jabs and crosses, the fight was reset from the centre as both the fighters were moving out of the boundary line. The fight started again this time Kashif started off by throwing some jabs and ducking which Saad took advantage of and got the clinch, in which he threw 3 knees out of which the last one connected straight on Kashif’s chin, but that didn’t seem to bother the 6’3” giant. Kashif got out of the clinch and Saad opted to keep the distance by throwing some kicks, however Kashif threw some straight punches to close the distance and ended up tagging Saad with a right hook. Kashif started to push the pace by throwing solid combinations to which Saad answered with his own and both fighters started to exchange a series of punches which ended with Kashif tagging Saad again with the right hook which seemed to wobble Saad a bit. Kashif started to show some fatigue around the 1:30 mark which Saad noticed and took advantage of by throwing a left body kick and following up with a knee which landed flush on Kashif’s nose that resulted in bleeding, which the referee saw and intelligently stopped the fight that resulted in a TKO win for Saad.
This marked an end to the fights for the evening and the event came to an end, all of the fights were exciting and every fighter showed heart and courage and true martial spirit as there was no bad blood between any of the competitors and only mutual respect for each other’s skills. After the event pictures were taken of the participants and supporters, during one picture Gohar Gul set up the timer but accidently pressed the power button which resulted in us posing for a picture for a complete minute that never even got capturedJ. I also got to see abit of my match to find out how hard I hit my head and it looked pretty bad, when I fell, my head actually bounced off the ground from the impact, no wonder my head kept thumping for the rest of the night .
This event marked the growth of Mixed Martial Arts in the city; I had the pleasure of meeting fighters from Karachi who are giving it their all to get a proper MMA scene set up in the city similar to Lahore. InshAllah this is one of many more events to come and it brings us one step closer in promoting the sport in the country. There are a lot of dedicated guys who want to make this sport their livelihood, not because of the fame or the money but only because they love the sport and want to represent the talent of their country domestically and internationally.
After the event Guru Gohar Gul was kind enough to take the fighters out for some tea and went out of his way to personally drop me off at my home which is almost an hour away from the park. I would like to personally thank Gohar Gul and the S3 for arranging this event and making sure everybody had a good time.
To end on a more disappointing note, I see a lot of people from Karachi who claim to love MMA and want us (MMA Pakistan) to bring the sport to Karachi, and are “willing to do just about anything” to compete. I can easily say that almost every one of those people who posted on our website and on our facebook page only talk-the-talk, why I say that? Because out of the 100’s of requests to bring MMA to the city not even 20 of the people showed up, not just to fight but even to support the event. This disappointed me but didn’t surprise me as this is the current situation of our country; people want something but are never willing to work for it. I’m not here to bad mouth the Karachiites for not showing but I’m actually here to ask them to support these local events and show their interest (if they have any) in the sport, and help it grow.