Kashmir's youth participate in mixed martial arts

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir), June 4 (ANI): Mixed martial arts are drawing more young men here with local fighters, squaring off against opponents from across the country.

One of the selected players, Iqbal Bhat said that he was excited to participate in the tournament and said that the game would gain popularity.

"I am feeling great as we have been selected for the championship. It is a new game in India and slowly it will gain popularity. We have been practicing it for the past one year," said Bhat.

For the first time, two young men - Iqbal Bhat and Abid Ahmad from the valley have been selected for the super fight league to be held in Mumbai.

Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt and entrepreneur Raj Kundra launched Super Fight League, a mixed martial arts (MMA) league in 2012.

The coach, Irfan Aziz exuded confidence in the youth of the valley, adding that they have lot of talent.

"We are providing training to around 20 to 25 youth in Kashmir. For the first time two people have been selected and they have even signed a contract. We hope that in the next orientation, more people will be selected. There is lot of potential and talent in Kashmir and there is a need to enhance their skills," said Aziz.

Mixed Martial Art has become one of the world's fastest growing sports with sponsorship and media revenue starting to pour in.

The U.S.-based Ultimate Fighting Championship, the world's biggest MMA promotion organisation, signed a seven-year multi-media deal with TV network Fox in August that will net a reported $90-100 million in rights annually.

Asian promotion ONE Fighting Championship, which has hefty financial backing from Middle East investors, is also capitalising on MMA's growing popularity and tied up lucrative deals with sponsors and broadcasters across the region. (ANI)

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