Wrestler turned Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Ritu Phogat is all set to appear in the reality television series The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition. This will be a reality competition show and Ritu is leaving no stone unturned in her preparation for the upcoming season (dates of its premiere are not final yet). Ritu will compete with a number of “handpicked” fighters to take home a $250,000 job offer.

Chatri Sityodtong, Founder and CEO of ONE Championship, confirmed the news in a Facebook post, revealing that 16 contestants will participate in the reality show.

Ritu quit wrestling and made her debut in MMA sport on November 16 last year in Beijing, China. It was a shocking move when she announced her retirement from her promising career in wrestling in February 2019. She had stated earlier that she wanted to join MMA and the entire fraternity, including the wrestling federation, was stunned by her decision. Ritu was being touted as a strong medal contender in the 48kg category at Tokyo Olympics (now scheduled to happen next year), but her passion led her in a different direction.

The 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship gold medallist is now making her MMA dreams come true. “As an athlete, you are always part of a team, a team which consists of players, coaches, managers, doctors, and more and everyone has their role and everyone helps each other to achieve common goals,” said Ritu to News18.

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Joining Ritu in the series will be fighters from across the world including heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera, women’s atomweight world champion Angela Lee, flyweight world champion Demetrious Johnson, Sage Northcutt and women’s straw-weight world champion Xiong Jing Nan, confirmed Sityodtong.

What You Should Know

  • MMA fighter Ritu Phogat joins the team of reality television series The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.
  • Ritu switched to the combat sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) last year.
  • Ritu Phogat won a gold medal in wrestling for India at 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship.

“Similarly in business, there are individuals with special skill sets and they come together and work together to achieve common and individual goals. It will be very interesting to observe, learn, and connect with my experience on The Apprentice. I’m also looking forward to participating in the physical challenges with the contestants,” Ritu added. The winner will also get to “work directly under Sityodtong for a year as his protege in Singapore,” said the MMA promotion stable in its release.

Speaking to The MMA India Show a few months back, Ritu confessed that she wants to test herself against atomweight Muay Thai champion Stamp Fairtex. “She (Fairtex) competes in the atomweight division and she has been doing well. She is also a Muay Thai champion in the same weight class and I want to test myself against the best. I respect all my opponents and I am ready for whoever ONE championship matches me with,” she said.

“My wrestling is elite and in the fight, I will use it and make sure that she fights to my strength,” Ritu concluded.

Also Read: Dangal depicts the story of a wrestler himself who mentored her both daughters Geeta Babita to win the championships

Ritu’s goodbye to Wrestling

The 25-year-old is the third of the famous Phogat sistersGeeta, Babita, Ritu and Sangita. Daughter of Dangal fame wrestling coach Mahavir Phogat, Ritu last year forged an association with the Singapore-based MMA organisation Evolve MMA, which is one of Asia’s most decorated fight teams. “I always wanted to do something different. Script my own journey on the international stage,” Ritu had told Reuters.

“The reason I picked MMA is because I want to be the first Indian to become MMA world champion,” she had told TOI last year.

Recently, she took to her Twitter account and revealed how headstrong she is in pursuing the career. “I am a strong woman. I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself, nor let people mistreat me. I don’t respond to people who dictate to me or try to bring me down. If I fall I will rise up even stronger because I am survivor and not a victim,” she wrote.

Achievements

In 2017, Ritu had won a silver medal in the 48kg category at the World U-23 Senior Wrestling Championship in Poland. She is also the 2016 Commonwealth Championship gold medallist. Last year, she won her MMA debut against South Korea’s Kim Nam-hee, in under three minutes, in Beijing.

Feature Image Credit: Ritu Phogat/Twitter

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