Chai With Arjan Singh Bhullar…First Indo-Canadian UFC Fighter
01 Apr 18
This month, we had the extreme pleasure of listening to Arjan Singh Bhullar, the first UFC fighter of Indo-Canadian descent describe how he achieved where he has gotten in life and how he attempts to use that platform to raise awareness for the Sikh community. Arjan is a fourth-generation Canadian residing in Richmond B.C. whose great grandfather moved to Canada in 1906, grandfather moved in 1959, and his dad moved in 1970. They all came to Canada to work harder and provide a better life for their family; not being able to bring their families with them at the time, his father did not meet his grandfather until he was 13 years old. His father went to high school in South Vancouver and constantly faced discrimination including physical altercations because he looked different, talked different, etc. Discrimination was at its highest back then and his father went into wrestling as a form of self-defense at a time where Indians travelled in packs or walked to the other side of the street to avoid discrimination-based altercations.
Arjan’s father wanted to represent India in the 1988 Olympics but wasn’t allowed to because he was living in Canada. It was a very proud moment for Arjan and his father when Arjan won a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. In addition to winning Gold, Arjan has also won a bronze medal at the World University games and is a two time NAIA champion and was named outstanding wrestler at the 2009 NAIA Championships, becoming the first athlete to win a championship in both the CIS and NAIA. Arjan also represented Canada at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.
Gold at the 2010 Games fulfilled his father’s dream and Arjan is proud that he has made up for all the sacrifices his father made along the way; his father was there for all his tournaments growing up and his mom got a job at Air Canada so she could also be there. His father always told him that he was going to be a champion and asked him to always remember where he came from and share our communities struggles when he has the platform to do so.
And, now after joining UFC, that is exactly what Arjan intends to do because it has given him a platform to share those stories. Arjan will be the first fighter to wear a turban into the ring to raise awareness for the Sikh community in his upcoming fight on Vaisakhi day in Glendale, AZ on April 14, 2018. Growing up, Arjan remembers a lot of speakers in schools but there were not any Indian athletes he could connect with. He feels like he can make a difference in our youth community because he speaks the same language, eats the same food, has the same values, etc.
Arjan is very proud of becoming something his family could be proud of. He feels he finally has a platform and as an athlete can open doors to share our belief system with the rest of the world – a belief system that is very inclusive and open if you support equality and freedom regardless of gender, age, religion, etc. Sikhs are warriors and have always stood for that and he is now proud to make his stance in the cage at UFC with a goal to win the title. Arjan, who was in Phoenix for training and promoting his upcoming fight in April, had just welcomed a child into the world 10 days prior to this trip – an indication of the sacrifices to come to follow his dream. His final message to the community is to come out and support and come together to show the world who we are. His message to the youth is to embrace who they are and embrace being different – choose something to become great in life! Please come out and support Arjan’s mission by purchasing tickets to his upcoming fight on April 14th at 12:30 PM in Glendale, AZ and watch the first fighter enter the cage with a turban for the 1st time in the UFC. We encourage readers to purchase tickets in Section 108, Rows R, S, and T to have a large crowd in a single section. Tickets can be purchased on TicketMaster at https://www1.ticketmaster.com/ufc-fight-night-glendale-arizona-04-14-2018/event/1900544CD9CA448B. We wish Arjan all the best in his future endeavors and are proud to see him encourage and support our upcoming generations as a role model of Indian descent in the world of wrestling.