Tiger Shroff and Krishna Shroff bring Matrix Fight Night 6 to Dubai

Dubai - ‘Self-proclaimed fitness freak’ Krishna is super excited for the sixth edition of the MMA event in the city.



Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied

By Husain Rizvi

Published: Sun 19 Sep 2021, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 20 Sep 2021, 10:37 AM

Fitness has long been a passion for the Shroff family with both Krishna and Tiger excelling in sports since their school days. This love for fitness that runs in the family drove the siblings to greater heights where one is a Bollywood actor who redefined the industry’s action films and the other, a self-confessed fitness freak.

Both are now the founders of Matrix Fight Night, a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event that will see its sixth edition hosted in Dubai’s Palazzo Versace on September 24. Their mother, Ayesha Shroff, also plays a huge part in it.

Matrix Fight Night was launched in association with their gym MMA Matrix in Mumbai. Since its inception in 2019, the first three editions were held in India, after which Dubai has been a vibrant host.

“I always feel like Dubai merges everything so well,” Krishna said in a conversation with City Times. “Everything in Dubai is bigger and better. My family and I have always loved Dubai, and it is basically my second home.”

Krishna, who has lived in Dubai for two years, feels the fight culture in the city is pretty massive. “A lot of people are aware of this sport, there are countless talented fighters whom we are looking to scout and eventually give more opportunities to them,” she said. “Right now, Dubai is definitely the hub and we are very lucky to be so closely associated.”

Covid-conscious event

Mixed Martial Arts, however, remains a contact sport and with MFN6 being held in the Covid era, certain risks still stand given the nature of the sport. “My entire team is doing everything to ensure all the safety measures and rules are met,” informed Krishna. “On that front, we won’t leave any stone unturned and we are particular with every single thing when it comes to the safety of the fighters, the crew, and the entire production team.”
The previous edition of Matrix Fight Night was also held in Dubai but was open to a certain guest list only. This year, the general public will also be able to attend and enjoy the highly-anticipated event, hinting at the slow return of the pre-Covid era in Dubai.

“It has, of course, been different being able to have a little bit more of a crowd as opposed to the previous year. At the end of the day, it is important to keep your brand relevant,” Krishna said. “As long as we are following all the guidelines that have been provided to us, the show must go on.”
But, where did it all begin for Krishna? The love and passion both Krishna and Tiger share for Mixed Martial Arts and fitness is no secret. “We decided we wanted to create this platform for our Indian athletes and allow them to showcase their talents and skills on a larger scale,” Krishna said, adding that there is so much talent in India that goes unnoticed.

Matrix Fight Night has also roped in an international fighter from Iran for this year’s fight cards, something which they had not done in the last five fight nights. “Matrix Fight Night is definitely going global and reaching new heights,” said Krishna. “This will put our Indian athletes on a bigger scale, providing them with a huge opportunity to grow. We want to see our guys evolve, and I don’t think there is any better way than to fight the best from all over the world.”

Women take to the ring

This year’s fight night will also mark the return of women fight cards after they were first introduced in MFN4. When asked why women’s involvement in such a sport is equally important, Krishna said, “I cannot speak for everyone but honestly, I know that ever since I started practising martial arts, it has given me newfound security and confidence that I didn’t have before.

“I think there is no better thing for a woman to take up in today’s world as it is very important for a woman to be able to defend herself and martial arts does help you with that. I urge women of all different ages and fitness levels to give it a shot and I promise that not just the physicality but also the mental aspect of the security you feel will be immense.”

The 28-year-old fitness freak has been following MMA for over a decade. “MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world. Props to all athletes, it takes a very special individual to be able to do what these guys do,” Krishna said. “More than the physicality part of the sport, what really drew me is the mental strength that these fighters possess. The shift in their mind is very unique and inspiring.”

No interest in Bollywood

Krishna, who has always been a “trailblazer and a trendsetter” has often faced people who question her decision to stay outside of the film industry despite being close to the entertainment world given the family she grew up in; her father is the veteran actor Jackie Shroff, and her brother, a leading Bollywood and fitness icon. Her response?

“I always wanted to stay true to my passion, I am very big on doing the things that fuel the fire inside of me,” she said. “It has not ignited that spark in me the way fitness or MMA has. I always want to follow what I truly feel passionate about. If I don’t feel passionate about it, I am probably going to do it very half-heartedly. So, at the end of the day, in everything I do, I want to give 100 per cent.
“Right now, I definitely believe that I am on this different path which feels like I am introducing something really new to our country. I believe in this vision and I am slowly starting to see a lot of people around me have started to believe in it too, which is why I want to grow more and more.”

TAKE FIVE WITH KRISHNA

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Tiger Shroff.

Will we ever see you in the ring?

It is on my bucket-list. Never say never.

Favourite Bollywood and Hollywood action hero?

Tiger Shroff and Tom Hardy.

Favourite things to do in Dubai?

Brunches, beaches and of course, the malls for shopping.

Most-exciting thing about MFN6?

Women's bouts.


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