Jordan Erradu
2 minute read
11 Jun 2022

Pietermaritzburg man making his mark through MMA

Jordan Erradu

A physical disability did not deter Pietermaritzburg resident Wayne Raman from making his mark on the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

A physical disability did not deter Pietermaritzburg resident Wayne Raman from making his mark on the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Born with bowed legs, his parents encouraged him to take up karate at the age of four to straighten them. The improvement pleased Raman so much that he developed a keen interest in martial arts.

His interest in MMA was inspired by Tony Brown, who ran the Combat and Development Centre. When Raman was 13, Brown invited him to train at his gym. Since then, Raman has not looked back and has travelled around the world, participating in tournaments, as well as coaching other fighters.

The former Heather Secondary School pupil initially started his career as a teacher and later studied to be a medical nurse. However, his interest in MMA has never waned. During 2002 and 2003, MMA began taking off in South Africa and he started studying boxing and kickboxing to gain greater insight into MMA.

He was also invited to train with sensei Alex Coetzee at the Pietermaritzburg Sports Development Centre in Prestbury. Coetzee took him under his wing and suggested that he should start his own club.

Training other fighters

His dream was realised in 2006, when he founded Mustang Athletic.

Raman has gained an international reputation as a coach in this not too common code of sport. People from all over the world flock to his gym to be guided and trained by him.

Operating from the Sports Development Centre, Raman coaches people from all walks of life.

Some want training to improve their fitness and self-defence skills, while others are amateur and professional fighters. He also has MMA classes for children from the age of six to 12.

Raman also coaches at KH Fitness and Velocity Gym, both situated in Hilton. His qualifications in MMA include a black belt in kickboxing and a Brazilian blue belt.

He is a member of the South African Mixed Martial Arts Federation and its international equivalent. He also serves as an official and trainee referee.

Recently, Mustang Athletic’s MMA fighter, Mzwandile Hlongwa, was narrowly beaten by South Korea’s Jae La in the main event of the World Combat Tournament in Seoul.

Raman said:

“Reaching the final of an international event was a milestone for both Hlongwa and Mustang Athletic in the push for global honours and growing the sport locally.”

He added that success in the tournament powered up both Mustang Athletic and Pietermaritzburg’s reputation as a sporting mecca locally and globally.

Raman attributes his success to his parents who initially introduced him to MMA and to the legend Bruce Lee, who Raman refers to as the forerunner of MMA.

MMA incorporates elements of boxing, kick-boxing, karate, kung fu, taekwondo, Jiu-Jitsu, judo and wrestling, among other disciplines.