ONE Championship’s Puja Tomar: Rekindling Hope for Indian MMA Fighters

Puja Tomar ONE Championship
Credit: ONE Championship

Puja Tomar’s win last week at ONE Championship: Eternal Glory, has broken the trend of Indian fighters losing in the promotion.

ONE Championship stands as the only major international MMA promotion which has shown interest in signing Indian MMA fighters. They have had multiple Indian fighters competing in their events. However, the majority of them lost. This lack of success was such a big problem that most Indian fighters were convinced that ONE was using them solely as feeders to top talents. Word was spreading that ONE had no intention of giving Indians a fair chance.

To a certain extent, this was true. Certain fighters like Rahul Raju were being given simply unreasonable matchups. Puja Tomar herself was coming off a bad run. In her first fight with the promotion, she was thrown against the undefeated Tiffany Teo, and in the next, it was rising hot prospect Jihin Radzuan. In both fights, Tomar lost via submission. Despite this, she was matched up with Priscilla Gaol. Gaol was coming off two impressive wins and the fight was scheduled in her hometown.

Tomar was obviously the underdog. However, instead of succumbing to the environment, she fought the odds and managed to secure a decision win. This win rekindled a fire in the heart of Indian MMA community. Every year, many fighters quit the sport of MMA because of lack of opportunity. They understood that no one was going to support them and felt as if they were being exploited. When Tomar managed to defeat all these odds and still secure a win, it gave many fighters hope. Hope for a better tomorrow. What is next? Will ONE try to build up Indian MMA fighters?