Known for getting involved in fights and arguments since childhood, none of his teachers expected that he would be a champion one day. Meet martial arts champion Akash Gautam, 19, who represented India in the last world mixed martial arts (MMA) championship held in Bahrain, UAE, in November last year. He fought with 28-year-old Olzhas Eskarayev who had won four world championships before.
“There is no excuse for losing, so I must compete again and win this time,” Akash said. He injured his arm with multiple fractures in the fight.“MMA has no rules, so one can easily lose life in a fight, but that is what makes it so challenging and fun,” Akash said. He is driven by passion and dream to bring gold to India from Olympics and other world championships.
Akash who was born in Indore moved with his parents to Bhiwani in Haryana to be with his grandparents for couple of years. He studied in Haryana till class VI. “When I moved back to Indore, I learned about different sports,” Akash told Free Press. He spent two years in understanding sports and adjusting in the city.
“I joined boxing as a sport when I was in class IX,” Akash said. He wanted to be a sportsman like his father (businessman Shiv Kumar Gautam). “My father was a part of national kho kho team and cricket. I was naturally inclined towards sports. I started with boxing, learned various forms and became a MMA champion in no time,” Akash said. He won state championships six times in a row.
“Till I was competing in boxing championships, my family members were okay with it. But they worry about me now,” Akash said. He is at risk of losing life in every fight. “I cannot quit, because fighting is what drives me. So, I have to do it, no matter what,” he remarked.
* 7-time boxing state champion and MMA
* Represented DAVV in all India university contest twice
* Represented India in Bahrain MMA world championship
* Won gold, silver and bronze in national MMA championship
Mixed Martial Arts
It is a full-contact combat sport that allows striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground, using techniques from other combat sports and martial arts. Union ministry of youth affairs and sports does not recognise MMA as a sport. But ministry has given permission to host events to biggest and oldest MMA organisation in country – All India Mixed Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA).
The All India Mixed Martial Arts Association is functioning for more than 10 years and has organised many notable events. The AIMMAA has more than 20 affiliated member states, working to promote MMA sport. In MP, Vikash Sharma is founder and secretary general of Sports Association of Mix Martial Arts, Madhya Pradesh. This association is affiliated to AIMMAA. He coached Akash as well.