While the market for MMA fighting in India has grown exponentially in the past decade and fighters of the Indian descent like Agilan Thani and Arjan Singh Bhullar have made the nation proud in the greatest MMA platform of all, that is the UFC, we still have a grand following for traditional and amateur form of wrestling.
While athletes likes Sushil Kumar were the flag-bearers of Indian wrestling, younger wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia have taken the contingent to the next level.
Based on the true story of wrestler Mahavir Phogat and his daughters Geeta and Babita Phogat, 'Dangal' more specifically had a huge impact on India's sporting world. The byproduct of which led to the burden of a nation as massive as India on the shoulders of the Phogat sisters (Geeta, Babita, Ritu and Sangita).View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Geeta Phogat (@geetaphogat) on Jan 24, 2019 at 4:06am PST
While the two of the elder sisters have committed themselves to traditional wrestling, Ritu Phogat (who won the silver medal during the 2017 U-23 Senior Wrestling Championship in Poland) on the other hand has decided to move to MMA.February 25, 2019
Joining Singapore's Evolve Fight Team (EFT), she told TOI: "I am really excited to begin my new journey. The reason I picked MMA is because I want to be the first Indian to become MMA world champion.”.
What prompted her to take up MMA?
According to Ritu, who had been following the sport very closely for a long time, people had a lot of expectations from her just because of the fact that she is Geeta and Babita's sister. “I want to fulfill their expectations and hopes, not on the mat but inside a cage.”
However, giving her official notice to the Wrestling Federation of India for good will cost Ritu Phogat her shot at competing for her nation in the upcoming 2020 Olympics but she is willing to take that risk.
We have to commend Phogat's career altering step to move to Singapore. Resembling to boxer Vijender Singh's decision to move to the United States in search for better competition and greater recognition globally, she is in a relentless pursuit of her dreams and stardom.