Bollywood stars might have added to the entertainment quotient of the newly conceptualised Super Fight League (SFL) but for Raj Kundra,the brainchild behind the league,it remains a proper sport with a huge potential to grow in India.
“SFL is based on the Mixed Martial Arts. It is a proper sport with proper set of rules and regulations. There is no scope of stage-managing the things,” said Kundra.
There is a perception,that the league might turn out to be one like World Wrestling Entertainment,but Kundra said it is not entertainment in any way and insisted that it is a “high combat sport”.
The owner of the league,however,added that it is important to club glamour with the sport to increase its acceptability among the masses.
“You know how it works here. If you don’t have the presence of Bollywood,people won’t recognise the sport. Even an established game like hockey had to include some Bollywood tinge to it,” he said.
Kundra also added that they would look to cut down on the entertainment once the sport is well recognised.
“In future the emphasis would be more on the sport,we would look to cut down on the entertainment,but we would like to keep a bit of the Bollywood quotient,” he said.
With the league heading for its third round in Delhi on May 6,after being organised in Mumbai and Chandigarh,Kundra conceded that having a local connect was important.
“There are a lot of Indian players but you need to give time to these youngsters. I firmly believe that Sachin (Tendulkar) was not born overnight,it takes time to evolve.
“We already have a boot camp in Nashik and we are looking to open another training centre at Mumbai. We have also roped in foreign coaches to impart training to the young enthusiasts who want to pursue the sport.
“We are also coming up with a reality show to select eight male and eight female fighters across the country,” he added.
The NRI businessman,who is also the co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals IPL franchise,said they were still educating people about the sport.
He added that they have got a “phenomenal response” from the crowd in Delhi.
“Delhi is up for it. We have already started getting so many calls from the VIP’s for the bout,” he said.
The SFL boasts of being the country’s first professionally organised MMA fighting league,and when asked did it have to do something with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC),Kundra said the only similarity between the two was that they are based on the same sport.
“Our’s is the first organisation to launch the league in India. It is an open market but we certainly have the advantage of being the first,” he said.
Asked how did the league conceptualise,Raj said,”It is an entirely new sport for India,but it is an established one in the west. After starting off with the Indian Premier League,I thought something more can be done for sports,” Kundra said.
“It is a high combat sport and given the liking of Indian audience for the action movies I thought it would be a great success here. I approached Sanjay Dutt and luckily he agreed,” Kundra added.