This weekend the first ever South-Asian to compete in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) won his debut fight and declared his determination to “educate people” on the Sikh faith.
Arjan Singh Bhullar took his MMA (mixed martial-arts) record to 7-0 following a three-round unanimous decision points win against Brazilian contender Luis Henrique at the UFC 215 event in Edmonton, Canada. In a post fight interview (shared below) the former Olympic level wrestler attributed his fighting prowess to his faith.
“The founders of our religion practiced wrestling. Those that know me know my blood burns hot. My lineage comes down from the Sikh warriors…this life (as a professional combat athlete) is a no-brainer for me.”
Arjan Singh also spoke of his desire to create more understanding about the Sikh identity, and plans to do so by wearing a turban during his ring entrances, something he has previously done.
“It (the turban) is symbolic of the Sikh people. You look at our defence minister (Harjit Singh Sajjan of Canada), he wears a turban, that’s what Sikhs are. I want to educate people and bring awareness to what my people are about.
“It is something I am prideful for. When I walked out to the Olympic games (representing Canada in 2012) I was front-row next to our flag bearer and I had my turban on and people around the world recognised, ‘that’s one of our people’.
“The founders of our religion do that (wear turbans) because as a people we standout, we are unique, and that’s something I want to empower people to be. Be unique, standout. You see a guy with a beard and a turban and you know he is a Sikh.”
Check out the full interview here.
NOTE – The term for the Sikh turban is Dastaar. Practicing Sikhs will not remove the Dastaar in public except in extreme circumstances.