Following a submission win at Saturday’s Kumite 1 League in Mumbai, India, flyweight Kushal Vyas spoke of opportunities in the promotion, and the need for a single sanctioning body for MMA in India.
This past weekend, on September 29, the Kumite 1 League hosted its first show. The inaugural event of the Indian MMA upstart was attended by Mike Tyson, and saw Team India take on Team UAE. The nation-based format of the league is just one of the selling points; the promotion is also utilizing software based scoring rather than traditional judges. Among the action at the first Kumite 1 League show, in an undercard bout Kushal Vyas from Team India took on Team UAE’s Pawan Prasad Semwai.
It was a hotly contested battle between flyweights, as the pair locked horns in Mumbai’s NSCI Dome. Vyas however, got better of the of his UAE opponent as he managed to lock in an armbar in the very first round to rack up the win. With the victory, Vyas improved his record to 4-2. The win also snapped a two-fight losing streak, and now puts him back on the map. After the match Vyas took time off to answer a few questions post-fight.
1. How was your experience with Kumite 1 League?
Vyas: It is a big platform for upcoming fighters. Having someone like Mike Tyson attend the event simply makes it way bigger, given the fan following Tyson has in India. My fight was the opening bout. I was a bit nervous. I was trying to figure something out. I knew he was a striker and was training in BJJ. However, I was very confident of my skills so I knew I could beat him. When the fight began he was not responding and that is when I went for the attack, I got the armbar.
2. How does it feel after winning the fight?
Vyas: It feels very good. Especially when you win a fight after a long time.
3. What is the future of MMA in India?
Vyas: Some people will agree with me and others won’t. The future is something one can’t put in words. There are cases where fighters don’t get paid, if they are paid it is after two months. In some cases you do not have insurance, in others you don’t have a proper ambulance. In events like Kumite 1 League you have proper facilities. However, there aren’t many events like Kumite 1 League. There should be one head who manages everything. There should be one sanctioning body.
4. Will you continue with Kumite 1 League?
Vyas: Yes, if they continue with the events. I also hope they do not only give chances to fighters who win. If they do so then only experienced fighters will get chances and new fighters will be left out.
5. Any Message for Indian MMA fighters?
Vyas: Take experience in amateur MMA fights. Focus on conditioning and learn what MMA is as an amateur.