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How the Indian MMA Governing Bodies united with a message against UFC 249

LockerRoom Team
10 April 2020

With the recent announcement of UFC 249 going ahead despite the global COVID-19 Pandemic and all events being cancelled or postponed, UFC President Dana White had been the centre of extreme and expected criticism. Sports federations, health experts and other promotions had been vocal in opposing the decision made by the UFC.

The general consensus is that the American promotion had tarnished the sport's image by deciding to go ahead with the event, a view that has been shared by BRAVE CF president Mohammed Shahid. 

This is a complete contrast of how other promotions and worldwide sports organizations have handled the COVID-19 Pandemic.

BRAVE Combat Federation has hosted three shows in India, two in Hyderabad and one in Mumbai, and has been extremely proactive in the fight against Coronavirus. And apparently, all the major MMA Governing bodies in India also shared a similar view about the UFC 249 event prior to its cancellation.

Sharif Mohammed Bapu, President of the National Federation, The MMA INDIA Federation, governing body of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts in India, also joined the same sentiment and made an official statement saying the following.

“Taking into consideration the global Pandemic, the Government and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown until the 14th of April or further as precautionary measures. We as a Federation have passed a resolution to all our state bodies and Members to halt all events till normalcy returns.  That same resolution is also applicable for the upcoming BRAVE CF event in June 2020; as we cannot risk fighter safety in accordance with our main aim as the Sanctioning Body.”

Meanwhile, Aditya PS, president of the All India MMA Federation (AIMMAF) criticized the UFC for "shedding a dark light in the sport of MMA", by going against every global sports organization and putting lives in danger by continuing to put on shows.

"This pandemic has shown the best side of sports, but also the worst. It is very irresponsible for organizations to go through with events, exposing fighters, staff, basic workers and medical teams to each other when the best way to combat Coronavirus is isolation. It is not what this sport is about, and it sheds a very dark light on mixed martial arts that the UFC is ignoring all worldwide health organizations' advice by moving on with UFC 249. Global organizations are leading by example on this matter, postponing or canceling their prized events because they understand that human lives are at stake here. The image of the sports community is also being monitored by the entire world".

Finally, Daniel Isaac, who is the founder of AIMMAA, GAMMAF and the head of the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Federation India, has responded directly to UFC president Dana White, calling him to "stop this stupid move".

"(...) Fight content and mixed martial arts are not a priority at this point in time. What is important is that lives are saved, we prevent the virus from spreading and the safety of the athletes and media people, your staff and your sanctioning bodies and the medical health officials. I don't even understand how the medical and health officials have time to be working on an MMA show on some island or wherever you're hosting it when there are people in need of doctors. And I'm asking you, Dana, to do the right thing and stop this stupid move and cancel the UFC fights over the next few weeks or months until the situation is under control", pleaded Isaac.

UFC, eventually, has been forced to postponed UFC 249 and all its scheduled events as of today with no new dates being announced. Dana White revealed the same during his recent interview with ESPN and noted that he received instructions from top executives in ESPN and Disney to do so.


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