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MMA

UFC fighter Puja Tomar highlights calls for sponsor support

UFC fighter Puja Tomar cited the disparity in recognition between cricket and other sports and asked more people to support the other athletes.

UFC fighter Puja Tomar highlights calls for sponsor support
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Puja Tomar needs funds to help her prepare well for upcoming fights in UFC. (Photo Credit: Sportstar)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 11 July 2024 1:00 PM GMT

MMA fighter Puja Tomar became the first-ever Indian to win a fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) last month after defeating Brazil’s Rayanne Amanda dos Santos in her debut match.

Despite the historic win at one of the biggest MMA promotions in the world, Puja Tomar has voiced her opinion regarding the disparity in behaviour regarding the recognition of cricketers and other sports persons.

In a recent press conference, Puja Tomar shared her plight underlining the lack of recognition as compared to cricket.

“When I won my fight at the UFC, thousands watched my fight. I was rushed to the hotel because everyone wanted to meet me and take a picture. I had made my motherland proud. I was so excited to come back to India and thought now people would recognize my efforts. Unfortunately, when I landed, it was just a few kids from my academy and a few close family members," said Pooja.

One or two ministers messaged me that they would help and introduce me to some people, but after a week, it all dried up. I don’t even want money from the government, but at least recognize us. We had 300,000 people gathered for our cricket team but not even 30 when I returned,” Puja Tomar said in the press conference.

A Call for Support

The press conference was conducted to highlight the plight of small-town athletes like Puja Tomar, who, despite winning international medals, recognition, and fame, aren't getting enough support and resources to sustain the sport they love.

Tomar, who hails from a small village in Uttar Pradesh and lives with her mother and two sisters, had to struggle her way financially to end up in UFC, let alone win a match there.

Currently, she is seeking sponsors to help her with her training. While Fittr is providing continuous support, more assistance is needed for her to continue training for her upcoming fights by returning to the US. Tomar needs accommodation in Las Vegas and plans to train there for the next 4-5 months.

Thomas Cup winner and Asian Games medalist shuttler Chirag Shetty also highlighted the lack of recognition for other athletes citing zero effort to recognize his Thomas Cup victory from Maharashtra government

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