Mixed martial arts in the Middle East

Mixed Martial Arts just got a massive boost worldwide Discuss this article

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It was only in 1993 when the term “mixed martial arts”, or as we now commonly know it, MMA, was first used. These days, the full-contact combat sport, which allows both striking and grappling, has taken the world, and the Gulf, by storm. Particularly since Brave Combat Federation, an MMA promotion brand, was started in Bahrain. With the grand finale of their brand-new tournament taking place this month, and plenty of big plans in the pipeline for the sport next year, we talk to CEO Mohammed Shahid about the rise of MMA in the region.

How have you seen interest in the sport grow around the Gulf?
MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world. For the first time, a female athlete was voted Fighter Of The Year. This proves that it is growing. The formation of KHK MMA under His Highness Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa meant his vision created more growth for the sport. It made MMA not only one of the biggest sports in Bahrain, but also made KHK MMA company a world-renowned brand in such a short time. It truly globalised the sport.

What made you start Brave in Bahrain?

KHK MMA was formed to make sure the system in the industry is different from what it was before. Our main focus is to help fighters. We helped amateurs and sports enthusiasts reach the highest levels of amateur competition. The biggest result was the Bahrain National Team securing three medals in their first four world competitions at amateur level.

How did you get into MMA?

With MMA, you are training your mind and body to go through six to eight hours of hard work. It is not easy. These fighters are the toughest athletes in the world. I believe if you can be a professional MMA athlete, you can overcome all problems, be it business-related or relationships. Personally it makes me a super-confident person.

Why should people be getting involved?

We are talking about learning and mastering a sport where a human body has to do everything in its physical capabilities to be stronger than another human. You learn every martial art that exists, all the physical fitness and conditioning training that exists, just to have an edge over your opponent. We are very smart animals, which means we need to beat each other mentally, understand every emotion and overcome it, while turning it to our advantage. I think that’s an education no traditional martial art or school can teach.

What’s next for Brave Combat Federation?

It’s going to give more opportunities to every individual who is looking for international exposure. We already have offices in Brazil, Europe and India and it’s only been a year. Next year will be huge!

Brave 2 The Dynasty is streamed live, free of charge, on www.bravefights.com. For more information on MMA in Doha, visit www.qatarmma.com.

By Katy Gillett
Time Out Doha,

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