KARACHI: Pakistan’s own Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) pioneer Bashir Ahmad got inducted in the Hall of Fame this week at the World Martial Arts Summit and Festival in Bangkok.
Among the world’s most influential figures in MMA, Ahmad was given the award alongside the Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Carlson Gracie, which has been the biggest honour, according to Ahmad, while he was not expecting this award at such a young age and that too as a Pakistani.
“I was inducted into the hall of fame alongside Gracie, he is a huge legend in Brazialian Jiu-jitsu, and that to me is a huge honour,” the 35-year-old told The Express Tribune, who received the honour on March 16. “I was not expecting to receive it at such a young age as I have much more to accomplish. It honours me that a Pakistani is being inducted into the hall of fame alongside Gracie. A country that is perceived as backward in MMA is actually at the forefront of in many ways.”
Pakistani American martial artist Zulfi Ahmad presented the award to Ahmed, while Zulfi himself has been a big name internationally as he had moved from Karachi to the US and managed to establish top martial arts schools, and is considered one of the pioneers of MMA in the US.
The event took place with the help of Thai government and around 60 nations attended it.
This kind of award will only serve as an inspiration to many aspiring MMA fighters as the sport has picked pace in Pakistan and is getting popular quickly.
Ahmad has been the pioneer of establishing MMA as a sport starting off as a 26 year-old, and later opening his own gym, Synergy MMA Academy, to help the cause.
When asked what had been the biggest challenge he faced in his journey, he added: “The resistance from martial artists who were unaware of the sport initially. Also, my own lack of connections since I was a 26-year-old guy with no money.”
“The support I have gotten humbles me. And it gives me pride that so many are now able to open clubs and make a living off of martial arts due to the work of the pioneers. People know can now fill their clubs without having to go through the same difficulties we did.
“To see martial arts grow like this in Pakistan is amazing. My admittance into this hall of fame is simply as a representative of an entire community and movement,” said Ahmad.