One person who knows the ins and outs of making a mixed martial arts promotion is Mohammed Shahid. He is the president of Bahrain-based MMA promotion Brave Combat Federation.
“MMA is too young to be in the sports business,” Shahid told me in an exclusive interview in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines. “Get into tennis. Get into cricket. Get into football. You will know sports business and that is where we are coming from.”
Among the oldest MMA promotions are the Ultimate Fighting Champion and Pancrase, which were both founded in 1993. The newer ones include ONE Championship and Bellator MMA, which were established in 2008 and 2011, respectively.
“Every other promotion comes into the world to take money, take money,” Shahid said. “We are coming here to build the future and that future that we create will make us so much more billions than what these ticket sales I am gonna be crying about, you know. It doesn’t really matter. Trust me.”
An MMA fighter himself, Shahid said the people behind Brave CF know not only how to execute events. More importantly, they are well-versed in the politics of sports, how sports is run internationally, the national values that add to it and all the practical know-how in sports, which they can bring to MMA, he said.
However, many leaders in the MMA industry possess only one of the various criteria one needs to establish a promotion. Shahid pointed out, “That’s the problem with the MMA community, right?”
“Either you have an MMA promotion made by MMA lovers or by businessmen,” the Brave CF president continued. “Both are bad. You know, you want someone who knows business, MMA and the politics of sports.”
Brave CF was founded on September 23, 2016 by His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Fans of the promotion are well aware that he is an active martial artist himself.
“Our vision is to start from where sports is today and take it up, not from its beginning,” Shahid noted. “(The) UFC and MMA have taken it to a high level already. (We) start from there and make it better.”
On March 15, 2019, Brave CF will hold its 22nd event titled “Brave 22: Storm of Warriors” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Meanwhile, watch my full interview with Shahid here: