Naiza Fighting Championship, Batyr Ball
Naiza Fighting Championship held a mixed martial arts crossover event with basketball recently. YouTube Screenshot/Naiza TV


  • Naiza Fighting Championship experimented with a crossover event between MMA and basketball
  • The sport appeared to take inspiration from Khabib Nurmagomedov's "Dagestani Basketball" in 2018
  • A fighter even broke the backboard during the "Batyr Ball" event

Mixed martial arts (MMA) has appealed to a wide range of combat sports fans thanks to the multiple disciplines being showcased by fighters competing inside the cage.

In the early days of the sport, being a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner practically guaranteed a victory for a fighter should the fight go to the ground, which led to it being the foundation of an MMA fighter.

However, striking is still the most appealing aspect to fight fans watching due to the possibility of someone getting knocked out with a meteoric punch, elbow, knee or kick.

MMA is already chaotic given its nature of a finish happening at any given time, but Kazakhstan-based promotion Naiza Fighting Championship is experimenting with a crossover between the said combat sport and basketball which they have dubbed "Batyr Ball."

The organization made international headlines via social media with two teams of three fighters looking to score the ball on one hoop, similar to a 3x3 basketball with the scoring being pegged at one point inside the arc and shots made outside of it worth two points.

At one point in the event, a player channeled his inner Shaquille O'Neal as he slammed home the ball while breaking the backboard in the process.

With no captions nor translations being provided, non-native speakers will have to decipher the rules themselves.

However, it appears similar to "Dagestani" basketball.

Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov showcased what the sport looked like back in 2018 on the Anatomy of a Fighter YouTube channel.

Throughout the seven-minute-long video, longtime basketball fans would note that Dagestani basketball had no dribbling allowed and was a lot more physical than the sport it took inspiration from.

Those taking part in Nurmagomedov's basketball game, who all appear to be MMA fighters, were flexing their grappling skill sets with a physicality akin to rugby.

Batyr Ball appears to have taken inspiration from their ruleset as there was no dribbling involved, while players were allowed to be as physical as they want in the hopes of getting the ball back and scoring points.

The only thing that Batyr Ball players cannot seem to do is throw strikes, which does make sense in order to prevent it from being a total brawl-for-all.

One can view the entire Batyr Ball event here.

Naiza Fighting Championship, Batyr Ball
Kazakhstan-based Naiza Fighting Championship held a mixed martial arts crossover basketball event recently. YouTube Screenshot/Naiza TV