Bashir Ahmad and the Rise of Mixed Martial Arts in Pakistan
MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts, a full combat sport. It is a mixture of different fighting styles all packed in one, a combination of grappling, striking, and ground fight. This sport came into existence during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and during the past years Pakistan has also started making name of itself in ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC).
MMA started in Pakistan in 2007 but before MMA, other fighting styles existed, the most famous being taekwondo karate and boxing but these fighting styles did not gain much recognition internationally, nationally or locally nor was the government interested in providing any support whatsoever.
The first person to introduce Mixed Martial Arts in Pakistan is Bashir Ahmad, a US soldier, who started MMA in Pakistan. He came in 2007 with the aim of promoting MMA and he started in Lahore and began teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, to those who were interested.
In 2008, he rented a small space and called it the “The Slaughter House”. A perfect name, for a filthy place, having grease and dirt all over the floors.
As things progressed a gym was opened in Lahore, Pakistan, named Synergy MMA Academy, formerly known as Shaheen MMA Academy.
Starting on a small scale, he hoped to attract students with interests in MMA. This was the beginning of a new full combat sport in Pakistan but there was still a lot of work ahead.
As time went by MMA started to gain recognition not only in Lahore but other major cities in Pakistan. Bashir Ahmad organized different events to promote MMA and this was not only focused on MMA fighters, he invited all those who wanted to participate, no matter what background the fighter came from. Some of the notable achievements are:
Pakistan’s First BJJ Seminar
Synergy Smoker Events: MMA matches held at Synergy MMA Academy
Pakistan Warrior Challenge: 1st MMA event organized by PAK MMA
PAK Fight Club (PFC): The first ever-professional MMA even in South Asia, organized by PAK MMA. Due to growing success, regular PFC events are held in which fighters from all over the country participate.
PAK MMA Fighting Alliance: A platform for local and international fighters to gain experience and make it to ONE FC
Pakistan Grappling Challenge (PGC)
Smoker events are regularly held, giving fighters a chance to test their skills, preparing them for future fights, such as, participation in PAK Fight Club. Due to Bashir Ahmad’s dedication, Mixed Martial Arts in Pakistan is now at a higher level then before. Fighters are not only competing locally but internally as well. Many MMA fighters have made Pakistan proud by competing in ONE FC, performing exceptionally well and winning various matches and due to the continues efforts of such fighters Pakistan is making a name for itself in the MMA community, another sports in which this country can show the world that it is not lacking behind and is a giant hub of potential fighters. This is definitely a big achievement, something that has not been accomplished before.
Below are the fighters, who have taken part in international MMA events.
The founder of PAK MMA was the first to represent Pakistan in International MMA. He fought against Shannon Wiratchai on April 5, 2013, in ONE FC 8 - Kings and Champions and won the match via decision. Unfortunately, Pakistani media showed lack of interest and did not bother showing this win but those interested, his family, friends and fans showed up with full support and excitement. Watch the complete fight video below.
Bashir Ahmad is a pro fighter, having fought 5 times in ONE FC and once in PFC 2. He holds a record of 3 wins and 3 losses.
Eager to learn more and to represent Pakistan in the future, Bashir Ahmad travels to Thailand and the USA with the hope of further experiencing his Muay Thai, BJJ, and boxing skills. In order to become a successful MMA fighter one needs to learn Muay Thai as this sport involves punching, grabbing, kicking and the use of knees and elbows all of which are legal and used in Mixed Martial Arts. He regularly visits Pakistan not only to oversee his PAK MMA establishment but also to train other potential fighters and support them for upcoming international MMA events
Uloomi Karim Shaheen
This 25 year old fighter, from Fight Fortress, Islamabad, shows a lot of potential and has already made a name for himself locally and internationally. Holding an outstanding record of 7 wins and 3 losses Uloomi has taken part in various local MMA events such as PFC, PGC and Veshi Combat League (VCL) and participated in Muay Thai matches in Thailand and recently won his WSOF-GC 3 match against Yadwinder Singh. When Uloomi returned with his win, he was greeted by cheering fans and flowers. This was the match that brought him fame and further escalated the rise of Pakistan Mixed Martial Arts.
Trained by Bashir Ahmad, Waqar Umar fought in various matches, local and internal events. Having an MMA and grappling style, he is a pro level fighter, who is not only trying to make a name of himself in the internal MMA community but is Bashir Ahmad’s right hand man and can be found at Synergy MMA Academy coaching fighters.
Having a record of 4 wins and 4 losses, Waqar has participates in various PFC and ONE FC events and also won a gold and two bronze medal in Pakistan Grappling Challenge 1 and 2.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are other fighters as well, polishing their skills and training vigorously to represent Pakistan in the near future, participating in international MMA events.