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BRAVE CF President Mohammed Shahid teases big plans for MMA in India

LockerRoom Team
15 March 2024

During his time as a fighter, BRAVE Combat Federation president Mohammed Shahid saw India as his fighting home – all but one of his professional bouts took place in the country, which means that he has a soft spot for the MMA scene there, having grown up as a martial artist in India, and coming from an Indian family himself. Now as the leading man behind the vision of His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa for MMA, Shahid has made it a point to include India heavily in the global expansion plans of BRAVE CF. And in 2024 that connection will be taken to the next level.

In 2017, India became only the fourth nation to host a BRAVE CF show, after Bahrain, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates. At BRAVE CF 5, the organization became the first global MMA promotion to host a show in Indian soil, something that still remains to this day, despite promises made by other organizations.

However, BRAVE CF wasn’t only one and done – the organization followed BRAVE CF 5 with two more shows in India, including the first-ever world championship fight taking place in the nation, as then-Bantamweight champion Stephen Loman successfully defended his belt for a record fourth time.

For 2024, the plans are bigger and bolder, and one of Shahid’s main goals is to give as many Indian fighters as possible the opportunities he was afforded after he met His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and was able to play a key role in putting forward his vision for the sport of MMA.

After fighting and becoming a coach, Shahid met Shaikh Khaled, who was a fan of the sport, and was exposed to the vision that would change countless lives across the world and elevate MMA to a new era in the Middle East and beyond.

For the executive, India is the next road towards a global new era for mixed martial arts and he is eager to see the positive impact of BRAVE CF’s work on the fighting community of Indian athletes around the country.

‘’If you look at my personal story, as Mohammed Shahid, you’ll know why I have a special connection to Indian MMA. I am one of the examples of how a life can change. My family has been in Bahrain for three generations and we’ve had opportunities here that we couldn’t have anywhere else. But at the same time, I have a different passion. My passion has always been martial arts, to fight and to develop the sport. When I was younger all I could do was train as hard as I can and sacrifice everything for the sport. It wasn’t easy, there was no income, all you could do was prepare and be the best version of yourself, hoping for an opportunity’’.

 ‘’There was nowhere to go, so I had to be living with a bag and enough protein to get by, and travel around the world in search of training and fights. After meeting His Highness and seeing how passionate he is for the sport and understanding his goals and his vision on how to develop MMA, I knew that through his leadership, there would be nothing that would stop us from giving these opportunities to these fighters and enhancing their lives. And that’s what we want to do with Indian fighters’’, said Shahid.

While there’s no doubt that BRAVE CF has already made a difference in fighters’ lives across the world, the industry as a whole will benefit from BRAVE CF’s solution to mixed martial arts in India. The organic growth of the sport is encouraging and a starting point for something very special to be coming in the next few months and years, according to Shahid.

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‘’When you look at India, you immediately see that it is the right place for the development of MMA. Mixed Martial Arts absolutely must be developed there. And BRAVE CF is the right and only solution. Once the organic growth of MMA in India meets the actual solution for the sport, that combination is made in heaven. And you’re going to see something massive for MMA, something we’ve never seen before in any country. Now, I know that in the Western world we see some huge markets for MMA, but that potential that India has and the organic growth it’s experiencing right now, when combined with the right solution brought by BRAVE CF, then that’s the recipe for something very special’’.

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