‘Chaiwala’ eager to make Pakistan proud in MMA

Bakhat Muhammad was the winner of the Fight Night event in Tehran

By Nawaz Rabbani
February 20, 2024
Bakhat Muhammad (R) says he learned MMA from Proficient Academy Karachi in 2019. - Pics by author

KARACHI: Bakhat Muhammad, who also works at a tea shop at the Soldier Bazaar in Karachi, is eager to make Pakistan proud in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Muhammad says he learned MMA from Proficient Academy Karachi in 2019. He fought his first international competition in Khost, Afghanistan, in August 2021, which was organised by the Afghan government and named Khatri Fight Night (KFN). He defeated his opponent Ibrahim Muhammadi (65 kg) in his first fight.

Muhammad fought his second international fight (Asian Fight Night) in Peshawar and defeated his 65-kg opponent, Umer.

Recently, he visited Iran and fought his last international fight (Fight Night) against athlete Qasim Rahemi and bagged the title.

He has also won many national competitions, including the National Fight Tournament, Karachi Cage Fight League, Kick Boxing Fight, Kick Boxing Quetta, and Liyari Youth Fight.

However, lack of sponsorship is a big hurdle for him when it comes to participating in international events. When he gets an invitation from any country, he has to search for people to sponsor him.

According to Muhammad, most people aren’t aware about this sport in Pakistan which is why it is difficult to find sponsors.

He added that due to lack of cooperation at the government level, he faces visa issues for international competitions. Sometimes visas are not received until the date of the competition.

Currently, he is pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering (BSSE) from Ilma University Karachi. He belongs to a middle-class family, which is why the 27-year-old athlete works at tea shop to cover the expenses of his studies, family, and MMA club.

His daily routine is hectic since he comes to the tea shop at 5am in the morning and then joins the club at 3pm to practice MMA. He goes to the university at 5pm and usually sleeps around midnight.

Although, his family is not able to finance his MMA activities, they always give him moral and psychological support. His father and brothers are big fans of physical games.

Muhammad said that the government of Pakistan does not give any importance to sports other than cricket.

“Due to lack of support so many talented athletes give up because it’s very difficult for middle-class people to self-finance. The government should arrange the best facilities for the athletes so that they can win more international titles at the international level and bring glory to the country. I want to fight more international fights for my beloved country,” Muhammad concluded.