Pakistan’s female mixed martial arts fighters knock out stereotypes

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistani women are turning to mixed martial arts (MMA) to deliver a deadly blow to gender stereotypes and empower themselves.

Located in Islamabad, Fight Fortress gym gives women the chance to train in MMA and learn to defend themselves against sexual harassment.

While speaking to BBC Minute, fighter Malika-e-Noor shared: “This is [the]21st century and women are out of houses……They are doings jobs in different offices, schools and colleges. They [women]do face different problems like sexual harassment from their seniors, their colleagues and every one so they are taking MMA because it gives them confidence for self-defence.”

Noor further remarked: “Everyone in the gym especially the men are so supportive because they know the reason that we’re here for and they give us a tough time so we can go out and face the real situation.”

A trainer at the gym, Ehtisam Karim Shaheen said: “Race, colour, religion gender orientation these things don’t matter on the mat.”

He also said that MMA as a sport has become a lot more popular among the people in Pakistan. “It’s become really popular and it’s doing much better in terms of fan following as compared to a whole lot of other sports excluding cricket obviously.”

Speaking about the gym, Shaheen said: “As far as I know it is the best gym in the country that was training men and women at the same time. There were no separate classes for women, there are no separate classes for girls here.”

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