Sanjana George, a Keralite has been making headlines after being hired by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) for its latest season. She is the second Indian-born female wrestler to be recruited by WWE. The 26-year-old mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter who hails from Kottayam in Kerala, is already in Orlando, US, training with the WWE.
Sanjana, who has won many sports medals, got introduced to MMA when she was 17. “I happened to try out a kickboxing class and in no time, I was addicted. I felt taking up MMA would also help me defend myself or protect my sisters if required, and I went for it,” she says. Her family was concerned. “They weren’t sure how safe it was and was very hesitant to let me pursue it. But I didn’t give up. I’m an absolute introvert and it was often tough for me to voice what I wanted to say or stand up for myself. MMA gradually gave me the confidence and respect I wanted, and over time, my family too became more and more supportive,” says Sanjana, who has also been an obstacle course racer and functional trainer.
WWE had their first try-out in India in 2019 and it was reportedly the biggest they ever had. “When I heard about it, I was very curious, signed up and thought I’ll give my best, and even if I don’t get selected it would be an experience for me. There were 3000 applicants, it was a four-day try-out in Mumbai.” Eventually, four of them made it, but Sanjana’s US departure was delayed due to the pandemic and the initial visa rejections. The youngster already got to meet legends like Triple H, while training in the US. She says, “It was a very brief meeting. But I got to say ‘Hi, it’s an absolute privilege to meet you,’ and he said “good luck!”’
The youngster says she dreams of raising India’s standards on the platform. “Very rarely do Indians make it to big platforms and actually do well there. I want to make my country proud. I want to share with the world how vast and beautiful India really is,” says Sanjana, who also mentions she is proud to be a Malayali. “In fact, my great grandfather was a renowned architect who engineered Idukki Dam. As I have been outside of Kerala for college and work a lot, I haven’t been able to represent the State much, in sports. But I’m hoping to do well and make everyone proud,” says the youngster, who also adds with a laugh that Mohanlal’s Varnapakittu was shot in her house in Kottayam!