The story of social mobility is not to often told in Pakistan as its not as newsworthy as a Pakistan’s cricket team or the efforts to address terrorism. Through the documentary we wanted to show that Pakistan has a different story to tell. It is a country that is supporting the upward mobility of its marginalized population -the youth- to escape alive predestined by circumstances at birth. MMA diaries aims to show the ability to fight and compete in the sport of mixed martial arts and move out of a rigid class system giving hope and inspiration to those facing bleak and class-bound futures.
With its exciting blend of wrestling and boxing, mixed martial arts is fast becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Events attractthousands of spectators and millions tuning to watch the UFC. In Pakistan there are around 500 die-hard fighters who are willing to take their talent to an international level and represent the country.
Upon researching the “Godfather of Pakistan’s mixed martial arts- Bashir Ahmad, I discovered that he was in the US-Army serving in Iraq and has now devoted his life to promoting mixed martial arts in Pakistan. Ahmad has built a community of mixed martial arts fighters by opening 2 gyms, his commercial gym is called synergy located in the posh suburbs of Lahore with a fee of 6000 rupees (35 pound) a month. In Charar Pind he has opened his second gym Shaheen (falcon) giving free classes to the children. Through this initiative, Ahmad has brought together 2 different worlds in this highly-class oriented society by uniting fighters for the passion of martial arts.
We spoke to The Assassin, a former manager in a local cafe who then managed to find his fame after meeting Bashir Ahmad who mentored him to fight and to take his profession to the next level. We visited the Assassin at the Synergy gym where he was training for an upcoming fight and observed his training of martial arts as a catharsis of his fight against trials and tribulations in his life and the determination to rise above it. We decided that Awais will be the character of our documentary.