The narratives of the Indian MMA scene have been constant for quite some time. Despite having people who are dedicated, the ecosystem for the sport is still far from being perfect and though there is growth, it’s a slow one.
Under such circumstances, every new initiative that comes up is met with high hopes as it could hold the key to unlocking the immense potential that India has when it comes to Mixed Martial Arts.
X1 International is met with similar expectations.
The latest player in the Indian Combat Sports scene, X1 International was founded by Ajit Sigamani who also happens to be the brain behind Combat Kinetics and a string of many other initiatives. Covering various disciplines such as MMA, Muay-Thai, Boxing and Submission Wrestling, X1 International aims to create a support infrastructure for not only athletes in India, but also for international combat sports initiatives that want to enter the Indian market.
Ahead of their first event which is set to happen soon, we managed to catch up with Sigamani for an exclusive interview where he talked about how X1 International could write an alternative narrative in the Indian combat sports scene. You can read his responses below:
The motivation that drove him to create X1:
“I decided to form this company and promotion because there is a very clear need for someone to fill the “middle space” for combat sports in India. The need of the hour for Indian MMA isn’t large leagues or costly shows with hyped up budgets but to build a talent pool of skilled athletes and officials.
From fighters to ring announcers, coaches and officials, our ethos is to focus on creating and developing this ecosystem and providing them a platform through regular competition. Once this talent reaches a reasonable level in comparison to the international arena we will guide their careers as well.
From the business perspective, this is a sustainable model for us to start seeing Indian MMA fighters actually turn into elite athletes.
What motivated me was that when I travelled the world for MMA, jujitsu and sambo tournaments it was so apparent to me. The solution is simple, the sport will grow exponentially with the skill level of the fighters. Not marketing hype and big budgets.”
How X1 will be different from the existing promotions:
“Our formats aren’t radically different from other promotions across the world, I will go out on a limb and say our events will be different by being impartial, more professional and better executed than other Indian promotions. Payouts will be done on time and contracts will be honoured, transparency will be maintained throughout. Fighter quality should be better than most competitors the Indian audience is used to, as will be the officiating.
We will score over other promotions on frequency, apart from the 6 beta events planned this year, we will be having a lot of small monthly events through the year 2019 and about 5 larger open championships leading up to a big finale.
Another important first is that we will be going against weight cuts. We have same day weigh-ins no more than 3 hours before the fights start. This will make it next to impossible for fighters to cut drastically and re-hydrate properly (even with IV). No weight cuts mean much higher levels of fighter safety and fairer fights.”
The focus on young talent:
“I must respectfully say that going by the truest sense of the word, there are no “Big” names in Indian MMA as yet. MMA itself in India is a chrysalis. So pioneers yes, legends? no.
As far as talent is concerned we will be providing a platform for amateurs who want to step into semi-pro and semi-pro talent who want to go pro. Our focus is on young, exceptionally talented Indian athletes who can be groomed into the first real batch of international quality professional fighters in 1 or 2 years”
X1 International is expected to roll out the details of its first event soon and you can tune into the MMA India Show for all the latest updates and news.