MX Player’s foray into MMA with Toyam Sports spruces up sports on OTT
MX Player’s in-house content arm, MX Studios, is presenting India’s first-ever MMA reality show – ‘Kumite 1 Warrior Hunt’ – which started streaming from February 12, 2023 onwards. Hosted by MMA enthusiast and Hindi Cinema maven Suniel Shetty, the reality show unleashes power-packed challenges between the 16 shortlisted contestants and tests their mettle to attain the title of the ultimate warrior.
Produced in partnership with Toyam Sports, MX Player’s ‘Kumite 1 Warrior Hunt’ has also roped in SATSport News as the Title Sponsor.
In conversation with Adgully, Mohamedali Budhwani, Chairman and Managing Director, Toyam Sports, speaks at length about the show ‘Kumite 1 Warrior Hunt’, the growth of MMA sport in India, strategy to grow Toyam Sports, and more.
Toyam Sports has collaborated for a lot of different sports, but MMA is something different for the Indian audience. How has your experience been from the ideation stage till its execution?
MMA is my passion and MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world. All the big brands want to come to India to promote MMA since we have a very good population. So, I thought let me do something around MMA, because cricket is already grown, but MMA is something that needs to be grown. We decided to start with the base and then we will make a building so that we can be super successful.
So, I came up with this idea of Kumite 1 League. We did one league with Mike Tyson here in the 2018 India versus UAE league. In Asia cricket is famous, so I tried to adopt cricket’s format by appointing captain, vice captain, I made teams and made them compete against each other. I made a ring rather than a cage and then I made a point system. So, this has made us different and people loved it because they could relate to it. In this way I made MMA a lot like cricket.
After that I thought we need champions like Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar. But how do I make it happen, because MMA is not that famous? So I thought let me make a reality show which shows participants’ emotions, their journey is reflected in the show. MMA is a sport played by mostly the poor. Some of the contestants are from the slums who working as sweepers, housemaids. And with the narration of their journey from slums to the show, I believe the audience is going to love them because they have worked hard for their lives and sports.
Currently there are so many OTT platforms, what made you choose MX Player? How has the overall experience of working with MX Player been?
I was actually struggling to find an OTT platform because nobody wanted to show a Bloodsport, but MX Player believed in me and the concept and they said ‘we’ll do it’. Nikhil and Pankaj from MX Player were especially very loving and supportive. I can say because of them I’m here, because at that time no one was being supportive.
Besides MMA, what other sports is Toyam Sports into?
We are into cricket, tennis, football – in fact, we cover almost all sports. Toyam is is a publicly listed company on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Right now we are growing and getting into more sports. We just added cricket and MMA. As a public listed company. I cannot share much inside things. But we are going very fast with very high spirits. In the future wherever you will see any sports you will see Toyam for sure.
How excited are you and what are your expectations?
I am very excited. I am very emotionally attached because this is my baby. The people with whom we have worked loved the promo because it is something different. I got a very good response from MX Player and Endemol Shine. The series has also come up very well. My kids have seen it and they can’t wait to binge watch the entire series. I am sure that it is going to make millions.