We are all big fans of various Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events and showcases. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has captured everybody’s attention ever since it made its television debut. Sadly, there was not much to cheer about for the Indian audiences. This is when British-Indian businessman Bill Dosanjh introduced the Super Fight League in 2012. After successfully hosting various events and showcases, the SFL is back with an all-new format. This edition will see fighters represent teams from eight different Indian states. The team-based tournament format is the only one of its kind in the mixed martial arts circle.
We caught up with Mr. Rajesh Mehta, the Chief Operating Officer of SFL to know his expectations from the new season which begins on 20th January, 2017. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
SR: Thank you so much Mr. Mehta for taking out time from your busy schedule. To begin with, how different is the new edition of the Super Fight League going to be in comparison to the other MMA tournaments?
Mr. Mehta: Pleasure talking to you. I am sure that the new edition of the SFL will be a very exciting one and we have an all new team-based format along with a different scoring system. We have teams from Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Haryana,Punjab, Bengaluru and UP. The main objective of this tournament is to provide a platform for Indian fighters where they can showcase their talent. These fighters are professionals and they certainly do pack a punch. Each team will comprise of 12 fighters out of which they can have a maximum of 3 international fighters.
SR: Speaking of Indian fighters, how did you select them? Were there any tryouts that were held for fighters for this tournament in particular?
Mr. Mehta: Yes we filtered these fighters out from a large pool of youngsters. We were aware of certain places in our country which serve as a breeding ground for martial artists and fighters and hence targeted those areas initially. We have the SFL Contenders tournament which happens round the year and this is where we groom aspiring fighters to compete at higher levels. Throughout the scouting process, we received a lot of support from coaches and experts across the country. As you know our league is affiliated to the All India Mixed Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA), all our matches will be officiated by referees appointed by them.
SR: Like other sporting leagues in India, will the Super Fight League be a multi-city affair?
Mr. Mehta: As far as this season of the Super Fight League is concerned, we are looking at a single venue to host all the matches and Delhi has been identified as that venue. Going further, we would love to expand to multiple cities.
About Super Fight League:
The Super Fight League 2016 gets underway on January 20, 2016. Eight teams based out of various Indian states will battle it out for ultimate glory. Here are some details about the teams and the league format:
THE TEAMS & LEAGUE FORMAT
There are two groups ‘A’ and ‘B’ consisting of four teams each. Every team comprises of six players (a break of five male fighters and one female fighter) and six back-ups. These six players belong to six different weight categories.
|GROUP A||GROUP B|
|Delhi Gladiators||Mumbai Maniacs|
|Haryana Sultans||Maratha Warriors|
|UP Nawabs||Bengaluru Yoddha|
The four teams compete to play twelve League Level Matches. (All the matches are played between the respective teams of the allotted groups only, i.e., Group A teams do not compete against teams of Group B. Two Semi Final Matches are played and a match for the third and fourth place.)
The SFL observes six weight categories, ranging from 115 pounds to 205 pounds.
Bantamweight (125-135 pounds)
Featherweight (135-145 pounds)
Lightweight (145-155 pounds)
Welterweight (155-170 pounds).
Light Heavyweight (185 – 205 pounds)
Women’s flyweight (115-125 pounds)
Six bouts will be contested everyday across the different weight categories and each fighter will be crucial in contributing to his/her team’s success. These matches will be aired on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD.