Monday, May 27, 2024

Revealed: How Mohamedali Budhwani convinced Mike Tyson to admit that ‘India is not a Third World Country!’

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MX Player in association with Toyam Sports Limited has shown sport lovers the true side of Mixed Martial Arts ( MMA) with India’s first-ever MMA reality web series, Kumite 1 Warrior Hunt. The series has garnered praise and support from not only viewers but also renowned sportsmen and celebrities in India and across the globe. Recently, the team of Kumite 1 Warrior Hunt, including host Suniel Shetty, chairman and managing director of Toyam Sports Ltd – Mohamedali Budhwani, along with renowned sports personalities, WWE Heavyweight Champion, The Great Khali, India’s Star MMA fighter, Ritu Phogat and legendary Indian wrestling coach – Mahavir Singh Phogat made a special appearance on India’s most popular comedy series, The Kapil Sharma Show to promote MMA and the series that is currently streaming on MX Player.

Handling Kapil Sharma an exclusive signed pair of gloves by Mike Tyson, Mohamedali Budhwani said, “Bringing Mike Tyson to India was not easy. After days of persuasive phone calls, his secretary finally answered and said he had no interest in visiting a ‘third-world country like India’. But, determined to make it happen, I didn’t give up and kept checking for his time. To further put me off, they asked for an exorbitant huge amount as fees and were shocked that I had immediately agreed to it. Still, months went by with their stalling tactics and I decided to go to the US to convince him.”

“I was determined to give it my best shot and showed up with my team at Tyson’s office in fancy limousines. They wanted 50% fees to be first cleared with no guarantee of him agreeing to visit India but, said that the advance fees would be returned if he doesn’t agree. I cleared the fees, too and still, there was no response for 4 days. I gave up thinking that nothing will happen when I was finally told that I’ve got 15 minutes to convince him. I took a limousine to meet him and put my best foot forward to convince Tyson that India was an unmissable opportunity. From the allotted 15 minutes, we ended up speaking non-stop for over 4 hours and he immediately signed the contract to come to India with one more condition that he has to visit the Taj Mahal. When he arrived in India, I left no stone unturned to make it the best hospitable experience for Tyson. Right from the visit to the Taj Mahal to an evening with Bollywood superstar Salman Khan to fulfilling another of his wishes to tour Dharavi, Tyson saw my unwavering passion towards MMA and determination. On his return to the airport, Tyson was so impressed that he confessed to me, saying that he was wrong and, “India is not a third-world country.”

Over many years, Mohamedali Budhwani has been relentlessly working towards creating an ecosystem that supports and nurtures MMA fighters. His vision is to make India a global MMA hub and provide a platform for talented athletes to showcase their skills internationally.

Acknowledging that his struggle paid off eventually as leading brands took the risk and associated with Toyam to showcase his vision for athletes who were passionate about MMA with a single-minded vision of preparing them for the world stage. He adds, “I was lucky to find like-minded partners, be it MX Player and MX Studios who are leaders in the OTT industry, Suniel Shetty as the host of the series as his love for MMA is a fact known to all, the contestants from different parts of India & abroad with a hunger to learn and win, the multiple sports, nutrition, fitness brands besides others who went all out to support the athletes and us with food, training and job opportunities and promotions, the hospitality partner IBIS and so many others who just encouraged us to not give up.”

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