“Ex-mixed martial artist… I’m too fat now to be a fighter,” Brave Combat Federation president Mohammed “The Hawk” Shahid, 29, jokingly corrected me when I referred to him as a mixed martial artist in an exclusive interview in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines. But as they say, once an MMA fighter, always an MMA fighter.
Before becoming the president of Bahrain-based MMA promotion, Shahid made history as the first ever MMA fighter from Bahrain to compete internationally. Like many others, his interest started when he was a kid watching movies starring action stars like Jackie Chan and Jean Claude Van Damme.
“I was inspired by movies to be a martial artist,” Shahid told me. “I always enjoyed fighting when I was a kid. My cousin brother used to be a really good karate practitioner.”
“I always loved to compete when I was young and I eventually reached to a point when I realized that I wanted to do something in my life,” Shahid continued. “I wanted to do it with my physical abilities where I can be physically and mentally strong and use that in different areas not in the office, you know. That’s always been my dream.”
“So, it’s either (I should join) the army or I should be an MMA fighter,” the Brave CF president added. “I tried to join the army and I couldn’t get into the army because of family requirements. Our family was not very happy with me getting into the army.”
To get Shahid out of the idea of getting into the army, his family convinced him to become an MMA fighter. This does not mean though that he was forced into the sport against his will.
In fact, Shahid wanted to be the best MMA fighter in the world so he exerted effort in his training more than what others normally did. He would train 9 hours a day and doing such meant that he had to quit school.
“That’s why I jumped out of school and thought that I would continue my career full-time as an MMA fighter regardless of what anybody says because I believed in my dream and that was the goal that I wanted to achieve,” Shahid said. Because he quit school, he was no longer financially supported by his family so he had to make money for himself.
“I had to teach students,” Shahid explained. “I had to take classes at a very young age. (I had to) teach, train, fight to make money.”
But no great effort and sacrifice remain unrewarded. Shahid went on to become the first fighter from the Gulf Cooperation Council, which consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to be represented in the India-based MMA promotion Super Fight League.
Aside from making history as the first Bahraini MMA fighter to compete internationally, he was also the first fighter from the Middle East to headline a global MMA event. He knocked out Mohammad Younus Bayat of Kabul, Afghanistan in the main event of “BodyForce MMA 1” on November 10, 2014 at the Yolee Grand Convention Center in Frazer Town in Bangalore, India.
On March 7, 2014, one of Shahid’s students, Hamza “The Pride of Bahrain” Kooheji, 26, was one of the winners at “Desert Force 11: Bahrain,” the first ever MMA event to take place in Bahrain. The victory caught the attention of His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, 29.
The Bahraini prince called Shahid and the rest is history. Headquartered in Muharraq, Bahrain, Brave CF was founded on September 23, 2016.
On March 15, 2019, Brave CF will hold its first ever event in the Philippines titled “Brave 22: Storm of Warriors” featuring Kooheji and 19 other fighters. Meanwhile, watch my complete interview with Shahid here: