“UFC 249” will still happen on April 18, 2020 in the United States amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. While some mixed martial arts fans are delighted, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s decision to hold an event during a pandemic is frowned upon by others including BRAVE Combat Federation president Mohammed Shahid.
“Everyone is losing something with this pandemic,” Shahid stated. “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.”
“It is our duty as representatives for the sport of MMA to move forward in a way that doesn’t put anyone at risk,” the BRAVE CF president continued. “We need to take a step back and we need to set an example. This is a collective issue, we can’t show the rest of the world our sport doesn’t care about this issue.”
Shahid is frustrated at MMA being misrepresented as a sport because of decisions like holding “UFC 249” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For him, certain regulations must be put in place by a professional regulation body “not from one man’s agenda, which is always money-based.”
“We are the toughest sport? Yes,” Shahid said. “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.”
BRAVE CF has done 34 shows around the world in 19 different countries. Since its inception, the Bahrain-based MMA promotion has worked alongside local, national and international federations to develop the sport of MMA from roots to the professional level.
Partnered up with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, BRAVE CF hosted the world championships for the past three years in the Kingdom of Bahrain during the BRAVE International Combat Week. Shahid believes this is the way forward for the sport.
“A new system is needed for mixed martial arts,” Shahid noted. “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.
“Money should not be a priority,” Shahid continued. “If money is your priority, you’re not going to grow and develop a sport. Everything else comes with it, including money itself when you are looking to grow the sport and that’s what we are doing at BRAVE CF.”
View this post on Instagram
Join the fight against Covid-19! #avoidhugging #BRAVECombatsCovid19 . @khaled_hamad_alkhalifa @thehawkshahid @khk.heroes . . . . #coronavirus #pandemic #awareness #campaign #comingtogether #jointhemovement #raiseawareness #support #mma #mmalife #monday #mondaymotivation #mondayvibes #fight #contagion #together #onefamily #covid19 #global #WHO #worldhealthorganization #guidelines