He’s used to fighting his competitors – but a martial arts professional has been recognised for fighting cancer.
Pindi Madahar, 32, who is a professional Muay Thai and MMA Fighter, has helped raise more than £21m for Cancer Research UK in his role as an events co-ordinator for Ultra Events.
It comes at a time when the charity, like many others, has suffered a devastating loss of funding due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pindi was awarded the charity’s Corporate Charity Champion of the Year in their annual Flame of Hope Awards.
Pindi, who competed at top level around the world and now runs the mixed martial arts gym Warriors TMA Academy on Stag Industrial Estate in Holbrooks, was congratulated at a special online presentation last week.
This was in place of the usual ceremony in London hosted by Cancer Research UK’s chairman, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, which had to be cancelled to protect the country’s health during the COVID-19 outbreak.
What is Ultra Events?
Ultra Events gives people the chance to step out of their comfort zone and train to take part in a specialist activity after eight weeks training with a professional while raising money for Cancer Research UK.
One of these activities is Ultra White Collar Boxing (UWCB) which was created to give people with no boxing experience the opportunity to train with a professional boxing coach and then take part in a safe but competitive three round bout.
Pindi is part of the team that helps deliver these events across the country.
For the last four years Pindi has taken UWCB events to staff at Cancer Research UK, not only delivering the events but also providing the training as Head Coach.
Over eight weeks he gets the participants ready to compete and into shape ready to take on their opponents in a competitive bout at a special black tie event in front of their family, friends and supporters in London.
Pindi does this all on top of his day job running his academy and organising other events travelling back and forwards to London from Coventry and he has been known to sleep in his car overnight to make it in time for morning training sessions.
The events give staff at Cancer Research UK the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and learn a new skill while fundraising, so far in excess of £360,000 for the Stand Up To Cancer campaign with 180 people taking part.
“It doesn’t feel like work at all”
Pindi has been instrumental to its success, motivating staff and putting all his energy into making it a huge hit.
Speaking about his Flame of Hope Award Pindi Madahar said: “When I was told I’d won I couldn’t believe it. I was so shocked and never expected to win something like this.
“I absolutely love supporting Cancer Research UK and putting on these events for the staff who work at the charity. It doesn’t feel like work at all and travelling to see the participants and help them train is a joy. They get me pumped up and motivate me to work even harder.
“To talk to the Chairman Boris in a special call was great and to hear the plans that Cancer Research UK has for the future was inspiring and I’m ready to get our events going again as soon as we can.”
“Training gives people a boost”
Pindi like the rest of the country has felt the huge impact of the pandemic, with his academy shut for most of lockdown and now limited to non-contact training.
Warriors TMA Academy is a Mixed Martial Arts gym which offers classes for every fitness level for men, women and children.
It holds a boxing ring, kick bags, MMA cage and a matted area for training. Its fitness centre is also kitted out with weights, racks and holds Warrior Workout Classes.
Pindi, who owns and runs the Academy, said: “It has been a really tough time and just like everyone we’ve had our challenges to face.
“We’re delighted to have been able to open the gym and get people back training, but we have a lot of restrictions in place so we can’t do contact training at the moment.
“But we’re making the most of it and getting people in really great shape while helping to boost their mental health through exercise.
“The pandemic has had a huge impact psychologically and to be able to get people in a gym and training is really helping give people a boost.
“I just can’t wait to be able to get Ultra Events back on the road again and get more staff and fundraisers across the country taking part.”
“Covid has slowed us down but we will never stop”
Emma Hallas, Cancer Research UK Stewardship Manager, said: “I’ve worked with Pindi since he started supporting Cancer Research UK through his role at Ultra Events.
“To say he goes above and beyond in as understatement. He truly deserves this award to say thank you for the incredible dedication and effort he makes.
“He gives his time freely to raise money for research and promote greater awareness of the disease, and yet ask for nothing in return.
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“Every step we make towards beating cancer relies on every pound, every hour and every person.
“It’s thanks to the support of the fundraising public and our amazing army of volunteers that we can continue to make a real difference and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”
Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “The Flame of Hope awards give us the opportunity to celebrate and say thank you to our enormously generous volunteers and supporters for their fantastic work.
“ Covid-19 has slowed us down but we will never stop. We are determined to continue our research to create better treatments for tomorrow.
“Cancer Research UK has continued to work through world wars, recession and other periods of major disruption.
“We remain as focused as ever on beating cancer and I want to thank everyone who has supported us through this time.
“Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work in to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives but that’s only possible thanks to the commitment of our supporters and volunteers, without whom it would not be possible to fund outstanding scientists, doctors and nurses.”
Pindi was among a total of 61 individuals and groups from all across the UK recognised by the Flame of Hope awards each receiving a special trophy and certificate.