Manipur MMA fighter Bambam Thounaojam wins World Champion Title in 27 secs
First Published: 11th February, 2024 19:29 IST
Bambam Thounaojam worked as a carpenter and daily wage earner to make ends meet
Manipur’s 21-year-old Bambam Thounaojam, who had to drop out of school due to financial constraints, is the first Indian Pro Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter who recently bagged World Champion Title Belt at the 15th World Cup MMA Championship held in Russia beating Marat Guseynov of Russia in just 27 seconds.
Bambam Thounaojam, who emerged victorious in various other leagues like Indian Combat League Champion, Pro Combat Fight League, worked as a carpenter and daily wage earner to make ends meet.
In fact, even Thounaojam’s participation in the World Cup was doubtful due to financial constraints and his mother Thounaojam Ebemcha who sells fish to make a living had to raise funds by almost going door to door for her son’s ticket to Russia. This was revealed by the mother during an exclusive conversation with Northeast Live.
She said, “I was not able to give him Rs 30,000 for participating in the World Cup event in Russia. I was worried beyond words and I cried because I had no means of providing him the money. Finally I borrowed the required money from a relative.”
She added that she was happy her son won but is still worried about how to return the borrowed money.
As a MMA fighter, Bambam faced many challenges. But, despite the odds, he religiously trained for least three to 6 hours a day. In absence of equipment, this young MMA Champion used logs and spare tyres to train himself.
Bambam said, “Nobody supports MMA, not even family members. Most people focus on national sports where you have a chance of getting a government job later. I couldn’t participate in some big tournaments earlier as I could not afford the tickets because of financial constraints. I train religiously because I am passionate about this sport.”
He added that he even vomited blood once as he couldn’t afford a proper diet.
A MMA star now, Bambam along with his friends, work against substance abuse and help victims in treatment at various rehabilitation centres. Bambam said he has been deeply affected as he had lost his father due to alcoholism.
“I have been deeply affected as I have lost my father due to alcoholism when I was young. Together with a friend I work to stop substance and drugs abuse and help addicts undergoing rehabilitations at different centres.
Despite months of unrest and multiple constraints, athletes from Manipur continue to shine at the national and international arena. Recently two ace athletes from the state, Pukhrambam Sushila Chanu and Naorem Roshibina Devi, have been conferred the prestigious Arjuna Award for their exceptional performances in their respective disciplines.
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