MMA Fighters in Pakistan Battle Poverty While Inspiring Youth

By Michael Bacos

LAHORE, PAKISTAN — Waquar Umar is part of Pakistan’s next generation of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters. He hopes to grow MMA’s fanbase and the next crop of fighters in his homeland.

He trains fighters at Synergy MMA in the Defence Housing Authority neighborhood in Lahore, considered to be the birthplace of Pakistani MMA.

Bashir Ahmed is considered the “godfather of Pakistani MMA.” He was born in Lahore and move to Virginia when he was two. He served in the US Army, but came back to bring the sport of MMA to Pakistan.

Both Umar and Ahmed fight in ONE Championship, Asia’s largest MMA property. They carry the pride of their country each time they step in the cage.

Ahmed also created PAK-MMA, an organization to help develop Pakistan’s fighters with hopes of preparing them for the international fight stage.

Two fighters spar at Synergy MMA in Lahore, Pakistan. (Michael Bacos/Medill)