British Columbia

B.C. fighter to make history wearing turban to UFC cage

Arjan Singh Bhullar will become first UFC fighter to wear a turban to the cage on Day of Vaisakhi

Arjan Singh Bhullar will become first UFC fighter to wear a turban to the cage on Day of Vaisakhi

Arjan Bhullar ducks the punch of Brazil's Luis Henrique during UFC 215 in Edmonton, Sept. 9, 2017. Bhullar won the fight, the first of his UFC career but wasn't allowed to wear a turban in the pre-fight introduction. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Arjan Singh Bhullar calls it destiny.

The B.C. fighter became the fist Indo-Canadian athlete to step inside the UFC Octagon when he made his debut last fall.

But the world's largest fight production wouldn't let him wear his turban to the cage due to its outfitting policy.

"With Reebok being the official clothing sponsor, [there] were all these layers," Bhullar told CBC News. "[The company] didn't know how to approach it."

Now, with one win under his belt, he's about to make his second walk to the UFC cage on Saturday night.

And this time, he'll do it wearing a turban.

Making history

Bhullar will be the first fighter in UFC history to wear a turban to the cage when he fights Adam Wieczorek at the Gila River Arena in Glendale Ariz.

The former Olympic athlete lobbied the fight's promoters to make an exception to its outfitting policy, after a UFC official abruptly stopped him from wearing one to his debut fight in Edmonton last September.

"She said you can't wear anything that conflicts with what Reebok offers ... like the headbands or hats, and I'm like, but look, this is a turban. Reebok doesn't offer a turban!" he told CBC News following the fight.

Arjan Bhullar, former Canadian Olympic wrestler, in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. (Arjan Bhullar)

When he began explaining the turban was a symbol of his Sikh faith, things got even more weird. 

"She had to google Sikhism and what the turban is," he said. "I asked, what happens if I still wear it, and she said you could be fined."

This time around, Bhullar made it clear months in advance that he'd like to wear a turban during his pre-fight entrance. He's since been given the green light by UFC officials.

Day of Vaisakhi

The Sikh fighter hopes to blaze a trail representing the Sikh faith and help the organization connect with the Indian market.

And on Saturday, he'll also be fighting on the Day of Vaisakhi — a celebration marking the birth of the Sikh faith.

He thinks the stars aligned just right.

"You can't write the story any better," he said. "It's just fitting to be fighting on that day."

"It's special to me, and I hope it's special to the community."

Arjan Bhullar the first Indo-Canadian and first Sikh fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)