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His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa: Paving Olympic path for MMA

LockerRoom Team
11 October 2023

His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the esteemed founder of BRAVE Combat Federation and a fervent MMA enthusiast, emerges as the driving force propelling mixed martial arts towards Olympic recognition. As the fifth son of the King of Bahrain, Shaikh Khaled has not only been a prominent figure in the MMA landscape but has also advocated for transformative reforms in the sport.

Shaikh Khaled's impactful role extends beyond the realm of MMA. In recent years, he has demonstrated his prowess in various sports, leaving an indelible mark on football, rowing, horse racing, and beyond. As the President of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, his leadership has yielded remarkable results for the Kingdom, from securing the first Olympic qualifications in boxing and wrestling to the historic achievement of Bahrain’s Akhmed Tazhudinov, who clinched the world championship in freestyle wrestling.

The mission entrusted to Shaikh Khaled is nothing short of revolutionary – to shift mixed martial arts from an event-centric business to a fully-fledged sport with a comprehensive economic structure. His vision sets the stage for inevitable Olympic recognition, and his track record attests to his ability to bring transformative change to MMA.

In 2015, Shaikh Khaled introduced KHK MMA, a world-class team that elevated the standards for athletes. The team, boasting renowned names like Islam Makhachev, Frankie Edgar, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and James Gallagher, embraced an athlete-centric lifestyle, fostering an environment for fighters to evolve and become the best in their craft. The legacy continues with a new wave of KHK MMA fighters, including the promising talents of Muhammad Mokaev, Ikram Aliskerov, Murtaza Talha, Ramazan Gitinov, and Rasul Magomedov.

The inception of BRAVE Combat Federation in September 2016 marked a pivotal moment in the globalization of MMA. Shaikh Khaled's vision brought international events to corners of the world that had never witnessed live international MMA shows. Recently, BRAVE CF achieved a historic milestone by becoming the most hosted organization globally, having events in 29 countries, a feat unmatched in the martial arts industry.

The longstanding partnership between BRAVE CF and IMMAF (International Mixed Martial Arts Federation) has been pivotal in advancing the concept of amateur MMA through the World Championships. The collaboration has established amateur MMA as the essential pathway to a professional career, with the World Championships standing out as the premier competition for amateurs.

A key element in this endeavor is the BRAVE International Combat Week (BICW), the largest combat sports festival globally. Combining IMMAF World and continental championships with a mega BRAVE CF fight night, BICW has become synonymous with success. The introduction of the MMA Super Cup, providing cash prizes and empowering national federations, brought a disruptive format to amateur MMA.

In 2022, BICW went international with a historic edition in Europe, followed by a groundbreaking event in South America. These expansions align with Shaikh Khaled's vision to reform the entire MMA industry, transcending the interests of any single brand.

With the announcement of the BRAVE National League in 2021, a new era dawns. Set to launch in 2024, this league, in collaboration with IMMAF, positions itself as the top governing body. Through BNL, BRAVE CF is set to break new records, continuing to produce the biggest names in the sport and steering it towards a sports business format, bringing MMA one step closer to the coveted Olympic goal. Shaikh Khaled's multifaceted vision ensures a bright future for MMA, one that transcends borders and propels the sport into unprecedented global prominence

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