A Brave New World – Interview

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HH Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa ushers KHK MMA to the future. 

Acouple of years ago, the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) was relatively unknown in Bahrain. With the creation of Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa MMA (KHK MMA) by HH Shaikh Khalid and the subsequent introduction of the Brave Combat Federation as the first-ever Bahrain-based professional MMA promotion, that scenario has changed a lot. From a handful of practitioners, there’s now a whole infrastructure built into this exciting sport. Denzin White, CEO of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has said that “Bahrain MMA is developed”.

At the helm of this movement is HH, who has been the visionary, guiding and leading KHK MMA into new avenues for growth. HH said “MMA has always been my passion. I understand what it takes to be an MMA fighter and all the top executives in KHK MMA were fighters who have stepped into the cage”.

In fact HH’s passion for MMA has gone viral and trends worldwide. While KHK MMA and its sub-brands develop, Shaikh Khalid’s story has spread rapidly and every new step draws the attention of international and local media. HH said “Bahrain is becoming a hub for mixed martial arts and sports in general. A lot of people have their focus on Bahrain at the moment. The Brave Combat Federation fights was aired live in 30 countries and we are proud of this achievement. For this, I am truly grateful as I am open to any opportunity that serves the country and its youth”.

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Get ready to rumble

With a roster of international fighters who are also deeply committed to teaching the stable of Bahraini fighters, KHK MMA is fully loaded with talent. They even recruit fighters from as far away as Brazil! Brave Combat Federation President Mohammed Shahid said “To find a fighter as young as Julio Neves (their newest recruit who is 22 years old) with such a packed record is remarkable. This is the quality of talents we are looking for, these are the warriors who will get the chance to shine on our world class platform”. When asked who he thinks are KHK-MMA’s most bankable fighters, HH said “New young talents are always being recruited to the team. I personally think we have some world champions in the making. Hamza Zrira, Abbas Khan and Nayef Fekrey will be some of the fighters that will make some impact this year on the international amateur MMA scene”.

These athletes are given some of the best facilities and mentoring support in the world to hone their craft. HH said “The requisites for MMA to develop is to have a great team that will lift you up and motivate you as well as a great set of coaches and the right sparring partners. I believe we have some of the best coaching staff and a very motivated team ready to help and support each other. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world sees what we can do”.

2016 was a phenomenal debut year for the Brave Combat Federation, with big achievements in the fighting and training front! Commenting on these big leaps for KHK MMA, HH said “I am glad that KHK MMA was able to add value to the sport of mixed martial arts and its athletes. The goal remains the same, to build an infrastructure that will act as a platform for the youth to bring out the best in them”. HH’s advice for aspiring young fighters? Be patient and determined. Challenge the norms. Have a strong heart.

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Sky’s the limit

The Brave Championship is slated to expand to various countries, giving the world a chance to experience a Bahraini MMA championship for professionals, and have a positive impact on supporting Bahrain’s position in international sports, especially MMA. HH said “KHK MMA has not only been developing the sports and entertainment industry in Bahrain; BRAVE Combat Federation was able to bring international exposure and attention to the Kingdom. The promotion was able to create opportunities, show our passion and share the Bahraini culture with the rest of the world. We have made a mark here in Bahrain and 2017 will have a great impact on the kingdom as we host the IMMAF amateur world championship. Athletes from all over the globe including Bahraini nationals will compete to earn the prestigious title of “World Champion”. Exciting times indeed.

KHK MMA has been considered one of the biggest cultural shifts in the story of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Different from other type of events, KHK MMA was conceived and created in Bahrain, growing from the inside until reaching worldwide recognition. Today, present in four different continents and with a massive number of followers, KHK and Brave have been proudly carrying the Bahraini flag around the globe.

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