A few days ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of Pakistan’s leading Mixed Martial Artist, Bashir Ahmed.
Being a pioneer in this sport, Bashir Ahmed has represented Pakistan on the international stage in numerous events. Standing at 5’7” and weighing 167 pounds, the chiseled athlete is currently fighting in the ONE Championship and is an integral part of Team Pakistan.
He is also the president of the organization named as PAKMMA, which was established in December 2007 in Lahore, Pakistan. The purpose of this organization is to provide deep insight and knowledge about the sport which is a global phenomenon nowadays.
In our conversation, I put up questions to which the MMA star replied quite humbly. The interview is as follows:
Saad Shafqat (SS): Tell us about yourself.
Bashir Ahmed (BA): Well, I just had a son with my wife of five years. I was born in Faisalabad to a predominantly Mughal family in 1982. I have lived all over the world including the USA, Malaysia and Thailand. I studied Global Affairs from George Mason to get my BA, and have a Masters in Exercise Science from California University of Pennsylvania. I also fight MMA in One Championship
SS: What are your interests in life?
BA: Not really a one-thing type of a guy. I’m just an all around curious person.
SS: What’s your take on health and fitness? How important is it for one’s lifestyle?
BA: This is a very open ended question but I think being healthy is important to live a comfortable life, especially when you’re old. It’s the most logical and comfortable way to live.
SS: Is Bashir Ahmed a foodie? What kind of food do you prefer?
BA: Well, I’m not sure if I am a foodie, but I do like to try new things. I also am a decent cook for a guy, due to being strict with my diet.
SS: How do you manage to keep your own fitness levels up to the mark? Are there any specific workouts that you follow or you just go with the flow?
BA: I do different things at different times. I follow structured programs that vary every few months.
SS: Speaking of workouts, how did you start with MMA?
BA: I developed the interest for Martial Arts through reading and surveying different books on the subject. Then eventually I decided to give it a shot by attending different classes.
SS: Was it a tough journey?
BA: Well, I had fun during this journey and I was passionate about the sport as well. So it was a good time in my life and I’m happy where I am now.
SS: How do you rate yourself amongst the other MMA athletes who are fighting all over the world?
BA: I started pretty late, at age 23, and I had nearly a five-year gap when I was in Pakistan making PAKMMA, so there is still much to learn.
SS: Being the face of Pakistan, when it comes to MMA, how does it feel?
BA: If I am completely honest, it has its pros and cons. I truly am humbled by all the support I have with me. In course of this journey, I have had the privilege of meeting some amazing people and have developed a beautiful bond of deep friendship. I have a huge other family outside of my actual kin. When we talk about the negatives, it is that I get criticized for things I have no control over or nothing to do with, sometimes. So it’s a bittersweet idea.
SS: Do you think Pakistan has a future in this sport? What factors Pakistan is lacking?
BA: Well, I think Pakistan has a very bright future in this sport. Just give it time. Maybe another 10 years.
SS: Apart from MMA, what is your favorite sport?
BA: Well I love MMA, and that’s about it. I watch cricket if there’s a prestigious event like the World Cup.
SS: Any favorite movie?
BA: I really liked the movie “Falling Down” for a long time. Check it out.
SS: How do you feel when you get to know about new people being mesmerized by this sport?
BA: It’s an awesome feeling. I feel like the Pakistani MMA community just got one extra brother.
SS: How do you take the feeling that Pakistani youth wants to join and become stars of MMA?
BA: Most definitely, it is a hard road to start a journey on. But honestly speaking, right now the sport is at the pioneering stage, if one wants to excel in this particular art, now is definitely the time.
SS: What tips would you like to give them?
BA: Don’t expect to get ahead through anyone’s help, except your own self discipline.
SS: Any message you would like to give to the youth in general?
BA: Faith, unity and discipline – that’s the path to follow!
Talking to Ahmed was a pleasure and it helped me understand MMA sport a lot better. If you think you have a flair for mixed martial arts, do give this sport a try!