IT WAS AT THE age of 10 that Swapnil Barve decided to take up combat sport.
After being bullied at his school, learning Karate seemed to be a great escape idea to him at that time. But what Swapnil didn’t know was that this decision would change his life forever.
Now, 17 years later, at the age of 27, Swapnil is a professional MMA fighter and matchmaker with a solid resume to showcase.
One of the huge turning points in his career came in 2013 where he represented India at the SFL Contenders show and defeated Afghanistan’s Sayed Yousef via a Rear naked choke. A year later, Swapnil would convince his doubters that he is here to stay by winning a bronze medal in Sambo at the Commonwealth Games.
Swapnil Barve: A lot of people said to me that I cannot continue this sport. I did not have support from my family as well. I had to manage school and college along with the training so I used to train after coming from college. I just trained so hard. My family used to tell to get a regular job and I even got a job in Police but I did not go there as did not want to do those jobs. The views of everyone changed when I won medal at the commonwealth games. They understood that this is what I was going to do my whole life. I’m a full time fighter now as I think that we should follow our passion, he said to The Fan Garage's Renjith Ravindran.
While many fighters would solely look for fights Swapnil has been on the organizing side of things and he has his own reasons for this.
Swapnil Barve: I’ve been in the organizing committees of various shows like Combat Cage Fighting (CCF). I was the match maker and athlete coordinator there and in Real Cage Predators (RCP), I was a matchmaker as well. The reason why I helped put together the show was because the Indian athletes don’t get the promotion that they deserve. I wanted the sport to grow and the Indian athletes have quality which needs to be explored.
Currently fighting out of Superfit combat in Mumbai, Swapnil will be part of the Indian contingent at the Asian Beach Games in Vietnam this year. Swapnil will be competing in Sambo at the games but once he returns, he will be on the lookout for more MMA fights. With the experience of organizing many events under his belt, he also understands the major problems that the Indian MMA scene is facing right now.
Swapnil Barve: If you look closely, every fighter has a great story which will interest the fans. Indian MMA is growing. We can overtake US or Brazil in four or five years at this pace. Basically, the biggest problem that we face is training. The Indian fighters are good in striking but our ground game needs improvement. We have the potential and if we work together we can go a long way.
As Swapnil said, every fighter out there has a story and that’s the beauty.