Hollywood film star, MMA legend, DubaiLAD hero and Muslim community campaigner – it’s fair to say Tam Khan is a proper Dubai legend.
The first to bring MMA to Dubai with the Dubai Fighting Championship, Tam Khan is an MMA veteran and launched TK MMA Gym. And check out the posts below to see the shape he’s still in!
And he’s also making moves in Hollywood, starring alongside Jackie Chan in Vanguard which was partially filmed in Dubai. We caught up with Tam Khan to chat Hollywood, who he’d like to fight in UFC and what’s next for him.
You’ve had a fascinating career – can you talk us briefly through the highlights?
I’ve been blessed in so many ways. But I have worked hard in all aspects. The highlights for me would have to be opening the very first MMA facility in the UAE followed by the first MMA promotion being Dubai Fighting Championship. These were monumental in the promotion of MMA in the GCC region. Also being recognised by the UK House of Parliament for my achievements and work with the Muslim community and trying to integrate both cultures and build bridges.
How long have you been in Dubai for?
I have been in Dubai for 12 and a half years. I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s my home now and I truly believe it’s the new land of opportunity. Anything is possible here.
Hollywood came calling
And how did you get involved in the film world and land a film with Jackie Chan?
A casting agency Mixfame reached out to me. One of the girls working there knew me from before and thought I was a great fit for a role. They put me forward and the director agreed and took me on board. It was literally in the space of 2 weeks from casting to the start of filming.
Did you learn anything from Jackie Chan on set?
I learned a lot from all the actors and producers. It was a crazy experience and I hadn’t experienced such an adrenaline rush since my MMA days. Everyone was so professional and courteous. It was a pleasure to be associated with such a cast and movie.
And what was it like playing a bad guy in the film?
To be honest with a face like mine I don’t think I’ll ever be cast as the hunky good guy or romantic man haha! I guess I fit the bad guy role and I enjoy it. I’m used to always looking angry anyways, especially when my dinner is late.
Do you miss your MMA days? Who would you like to take on in the Octagon if you were still fighting?
Yes, I do, but I’m always around it via my gym and professional fighters under my brand. It’s always going to be my passion but it’s a full-time job and sacrifice. And with my businesses and all, it’s impossible to give it the attention it deserves and takes right now. If I was still fighting I would fight anyone. But I would love to have a crack in the UFC. That would be my goal if I did.
And what’s coming up next for you, any more film roles?
I have been offered some great opportunities in the US but due to covid they have been put on hold. Also I have an app coming soon which will be very cool for everything fitness related and I’m bringing back my MMA promotion. I feel now is the time to put on some great local events and promote the new generation of fighters in the region.