British boxing world champion Amir Khan will make his first step in to the world of MMA (mixed martial arts) as the new co-owner of the Super Fight League. SFL is based in India but puts on shows also in the USA and Dubai. Only three years old now, the Super Fight League will undoubtedly get a huge boost from both Khan’s financial abilities and name recognition.
Primarily broadcast on ESPN Star Sports, the promotion has a mainly vacant list of champions, but expect that to fill in no time once the brand starts to grow more, and MMA becomes more prominent in the far East.
Speaking during The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, the two-time welterweight champion says he is a big fan of MMA, and that he wishes boxing was more like mixed martial arts in some respects:
“I just love all the grappling and everything that happens in cage fighting and the technique and everything,” Khan said. “In a boxing fight, there’s not much grappling allowed. In MMA fights, there’s a lot of floor work, a lot of grappling. At the same time, I’m a good puncher myself; I’m a good boxer. So at least I’ve got an advantage. If I work a little bit on my grappling, you never know. I might go in the cage next.”
“I really believe MMA is a growing sport,” Khan said. … “I want to give the young up-and-coming talent a chance. Let them showcase their skills on a big network. There are lot of fighters avoiding each other. … I wish it was like MMA, but maybe one day it will be.”
We’ve yet to really see a successful crossover from a pure boxer in to a mixed martial arts champion. There have been fighters that have glittered in the world of mixed martial arts and then got flattened in the square circle, and visa-versa. Khan continues:
“I don’t think I’d ever do that, but you never know,” Khan said said of an MMA fight. “I’m a fighter. I’m a born fighter. You never know. I might just want to one day say, ‘Hey I’m going to tie the gloves up and I’m gonna go into the cage.’ You just never know.”
“Boxing pays me well,” Khan said. “I love the boxing. It would be very hard. I don’t think I’ll ever do that. I don’t think my mom would like to see me in a cage fighting. Obviously she hates me boxing, let alone being in an MMA fight.”
So it’s unlike;y that we’ll ever get to see him in the cage, but as the face of India’s offer to the world of MMA, could Amir Khan be influential? He certainly has the star power himself, but some thought will have to go in to many aspects of the game. The UFC would be a prime organization to emulate, given they are the most successful in the growing market.
Acquisition of talent, advertising and venues will be a good start, and with the huge stadiums in places like Abu Dhabi there’s definitely scope for a bright future for Khan’s budding organization.