The MMA world has also been forced to go through deep changes, with several shows being canceled or postponed to a later date, as it has been the case for BRAVE Combat Federation, the fastest-growing MMA organization on the globe. The president of the Bahrain-based organization Mohammed Shahid has been extremely proactive to initiate an awareness campaign to help halt the spread of the virus and is adamant the sport should be paused until health authorities & governments allow for normal activity to resume.
Other MMA companies have chosen to ignore the Coronavirus pandemic and have been putting the lives of thousands of people on the line to “keep the show running”.
With the recent confirmation that UFC 249 will go ahead, Shahid has touched on a subject that is dear to BRAVE CF – the regulation of mixed martial arts as a sport.
“Everyone is losing something with this pandemic. In the sports world alone, we have footballers taking wage cuts, clubs going under, and organizations working to stay afloat. We have bodies like UEFA and IOC stepping up and postponing their huge, global events, and setting examples by doing so”.
“Today we are being misrepresented as a sport because of decisions like this. We are the toughest sport? Yes. Do we have the toughest athletes? Yes, we do. But that’s not the toughness we embody as a sport, to keep going, and to disobey rules and regulations. We need to have stronger regulations and we need to collaborate as a sport. Decisions must be made with the well-being of people in mind, and not based on money”
Since its inception, BRAVE Combat Federation, which has done 34 shows around the world in 19 different countries, has worked alongside local, national and international federations to develop the sport of mixed martial arts from roots to the professional level. It has partnered up with the IMMAF and hosted the World Championships for the past three years in the Kingdom of Bahrain during BRAVE International Combat Week. Shahid believes this is the way forward for the sport.
“A new system is needed for mixed martial arts. We need to move past the event business and into the sports business. We should treat MMA as a sport, and MMA should be recognized as a sport. BRAVE CF, with the leadership and vision of His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, has led the way in pursuing that change in the system.