Fatemeh braves social, family pressure to feature in KIL

Tehran, Sep 18: Fatemeh Moslemi, a hijab wearing mixed martial arts (MMA) practitioner from Iran, has braved social and cultural barriers in her native country to feature in the Kumite 1 League (K1L) in India.

Supported by the All India Mixed Martial Arts Federation (AIMMAF), the KIL will bring together eight countries from around the world, a global-first in the MMA circuit.

The K1L will stage its first fight night on September 29 at the NSCI Dome in Worli, Mumbai. The event will be attended by legendary heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, who will be in India for the very first time.

Amongst the leading fighters scouted by K1L, the 39-year-old Fatemeh will be fighting Indias Priyanka Jeet Joshi.

Fatemeh will be taking on her opponent in the ring wearing a hijab. She started training in MMA at the Hosharafu Federation (HFC Organisation) with the help of her husband who is her trainer and fight partner.

It hasnt been an easy journey for Fatemeh. She went against her parents wishes (father Mohamad and mother Masoumeh) to take up the full-contact combat sport and turned professional last year.

Nothing is easy in life. To achieve what you want, you have to sacrifice a lot of things. Even though my family was against me fighting at first, they understand me now. My heart and soul is into this, she said in a statement.

Fatemah is a product of MMA talent scouting in Iran and sincerity has been at the heart of her success.

My father taught me one very important thing – to be honest in every situation. I sometimes wish I took up this sport earlier, but age is not a problem because you can do anything you want in life anytime. My journey has just started, she remarked.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star Ronda Rousey, who claimed a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, is Fatemehs idol.

I admire Rousey a lot. No matter the situation, she always puts her best foot forward. Even when she loses, she vows to get back and fight better with more power, said Fatemah, who dreams to compete with Rousey in the cage someday.

In Fatemahs case, this particular quote from Rousey provides her a dollop of motivation: You have to fight because you cant count on anyone else to fight for you. And you have to fight for people who cant fight for themselves. To get anything of real value, you have to fight for it.

Fatemah seems to be doing just that.

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