The first batch of Road to UFC’s tournaments produced new talent and potential breakout stars from the Asian region. One of the notable standouts has been eight-man lightweight tournament winner Anshul Jubli, who became an overnight sensation in his home country of India after earning a spot in the UFC, and winning a performance bonus in the process.

The world’s largest MMA promotion is now gearing up for Road to UFC season 2, with the full list of competitors having been just recently announced. Like the first season, this tournament will feature fighters from several countries across Asia. Unfortunately one fighter, from India, is already standing out from his peers in exactly the wrong way.

Sumit Kumar of India has been signed by the UFC to be part of their 8-man flyweight tournament. He will face returning Road to UFC season 1 finalist Seung Guk Choi of South Korea.

Although based in India, the 22-year-old also has connections in the western MMA scene, having previously trained with Urijah Faber at Team Alpha Male. He also routinely posts photos on Instagram posing with the likes of Dana White, Mick Maynard, and several UFC stars. Sherdog currently lists Kumar at 7-0 and he has a sizable following on social media. On the surface, Kumar seems like a natural fit for the tournament and another possible star in the making.

Look deeper, however, and potentially significant concerns start to emerge.

Road to UFC signee has flagged bouts on his record

In Kumar’s Tapology record, three of his seven fights have been flagged for “potential issues with legitimacy” and deemed “ineligible” to be included on his pro record. The respected online MMA database and record holder also has this warning message with allegations about Kumar’s first opponent:

This fighter has been found by Tapology to have engaged in activity which does not conform to combat sports standards:

  • Has knowingly competed and/or listed themself under false names or aliases in order to hide their actual record or identity, or for another improper purpose.
  • Fighter is widely known, or has admitted, to have lost a fight purposely because they stood to gain financially or in some other manner from losing as opposed to winning.

“Based on all the accusations and poor performances of his opponents, an investigation was led into Sumit’s fighting career last year,” Indian MMA insider and commentator Rahul Chhabra told Bloody Elbow.

Opponent fighting under a different name?

“Everything seemed normal until we went deeper to investigate the bout,” Chhabra said. “There is no fighter in India named Prakash Raut, and this incident was a scam to build a padded record.”

Chhabra alleges that Kumar actually faced off instead against a fighter named Mukul Anand, who competed under the pseudonym Prakash Raut in order to keep his actual fight record intact.

Upon learning about these allegations and flagged Tapology records, Bloody Elbow viewed and compared multiple videos of Mukul Anand’s bouts to the video of Kumar’s fight against “Prakash Raut.”

Simply looking at the fighters in those clips, it’s not hard to see the striking visual similarities between the supposedly different men—despite announcers and promoters calling them by different names. Bloody Elbow also found this tale of the tape of new Road to UFC signee Sumit Kumar facing “Prakash Raut” in 2020, and a separate bout of Mukul Anand from 2019:

Mukul Anand Prakash Raut

These photos of Prakash Raut and Mukul Anand don’t just “look” similar. They submitted literally the same exact photo for both tale of the tapes. Only in one, the image was flipped horizontally and lowered in saturation. Here’s an overlay of the two photos:

Mukul Anand Prakash Raut Overlay

“Tapology immediately corrected his record and flagged this bout. However, Sherdog is yet to act on this information,” Chhabra stated.

Anand’s entire Tapology record and profile has since been flagged for “listing themself under false names or aliases to hide their actual record” and for being “widely known, or has admitted, to have lost a fight purposely.”

As of this writing, Sherdog still lists Raut as 2-3 with three straight losses, while they have Anand at 3-0.

Widespread record padding in the region

“Unfortunately, this has become a big issue in certain scenes, specifically the UK. It’s always been rampant in India and the Middle East, where it’s the norm to basically do some light sparring and pass them off as pro fights,” Steven Kelliher, Tapology’s Director of Data Acquisition & Quality told Bloody Elbow.

Kumar, who benefitted from the win, didn’t have his entire record flagged like his opponent did. Tapology says they try to go on a case by case basis leading to just specific fights on Kumar’s record being deemed ineligible, with the problem being more on the organizers than the specific fighters.

“Kumar himself has not been flagged because we don’t consider the fighter to have specifically engaged in dishonest behavior,” Kelliher clarified. “That said, the India MMA scene is rampant with ‘show fights’ between trained fighters and random guys who aren’t actually attempting to win.”

One of the most difficult aspects of evaluating these leagues occurs when there could be legitimate fights mixed in with fake, sparring-oriented show fights,” Kelliher explained. “But the leagues refuse to provide a rubric or definition of each, or a distinction, instead choosing to attempt to pass all off as legitimate pro fights despite evidence to the contrary. In these cases, the specific Indian leagues were the culprits, not the fighter himself.”

Sumit Kumar’s MMA record

Apart from Kumar’s pro debut with Anand (aka Raut), two other bouts from his record have also been deemed “ineligible” and flagged by Tapology for the same alleged violation. 2020 and 2021 wins over Vijay Singh Barolia and Fateh Amin have both been removed from Kumar’s pro record, dropping what can be seen as 7-0 in Sherdog and, to just 4-0 in Tapology.

“Kumar’s bouts—more specifically, the bouts in the leagues he participated in—did not feature hard contact in our estimation,” Kelliher said about the Kumar’s other flagged bouts. He also noted how the promotion refused to provide additional documentation on which fights were legitimate and which were sparring “show” fights.Kumar’s 2021 submission win listed on Sherdog against Abdul Hannan (0-1), also doesn’t appear on his Tapology record. This bout, like the “ineligible” win against Fateh Amin, happened at a promotion known as “Right 2 Fight” or “Telangana Association of Mixed Martial Arts (TAMMA),” an organization which Tapology has flagged for the same legitimacy issues.

Screenshot 2023 04 14 at 12.14.28 AM

Of Sumit Kumar’s four remaining opponents on his Tapology record, none are listed as having won a single fight. Also, only one of the four is listed to have competed against anyone else: Suwattana Takanratti, who Sherdog has at 0-3. Of those remaining four wins, two of them also happened on “The Hero” events—the same promotion where Kumar had his “ineligible” fight against “Prakash Raut.”

It’s worth noting that Tapology tries to give the benefit of the doubt to each fight they record, amending results on a case by case basis. Although Kelliher also admits that with Kumar, “it is very possible we have some bouts eligible here that should not be.”

Sumit Kumar joins Road to UFC Season 2

Kumar stepped in the cage eight times from late 2020 to 2022. Even if his record has raised eyebrows from insiders and stat keepers, the recorded results were still enough to get him signed for season two of Road to UFC.

“Looking at Sumit’s fights and training videos, there is no denying his athletic abilities,” Chhabra states about the latest fighter to be signed from his home country. “Unfortunately, he has chosen the easy road to build a stellar resume worth getting a spot at Road to UFC Season 2.”

With Road to UFC’s first tournament producing an Indian breakout star in Anshul Jubli, Chhabra worries that the UFC rewarding questionable matchmaking could only undo all the good the first season has done for the development of the sport in the country.

“Sumit signing with Road to UFC is an all-time low for MMA in India,” Chhabra opined about the allegations against Kumar and his MMA record. “I fear he may set a precedent, which may lead to more fighters following his footsteps, and possibly shutting down the floodgates that Indian MMA fighters like Anshul Jubli have been opening.”

Road to UFC season 2 kicks off on May 27 and 28, at the UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai, China. Kumar has been officially booked to fight Seung Guk Choi. The South Korean fighter is 6-2, training out of Chan Sung-Jung’s Zombie fight team.

Bloody Elbow has tried to reach out to UFC, Sumit Kumar, Mukul Anand, and the Indian MMA Promotions mentioned above for comment. As of publication, they have yet to respond.

About the author
Anton Tabuena
Anton Tabuena

Anton Tabuena is the Managing Editor for Bloody Elbow. He’s been covering MMA and combat sports since 2009, and has also fought in MMA, Muay Thai and kickboxing.

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