It sounds like BRAVE CF’s president, Mohammed Shahid, doesn’t believe UFC 249 should be taking place at all, given the current global pandemic.
Countries all around the world have seen their normal, day-to-day lives turned totally on their head due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There is virtually no industry which hasn’t been affected by the virus. The sports landscape has all but ground to a halt with no easy way to mitigate risk for athletes.
Most major promotions have either cancelled or postponed their shows over the coming weeks including BRAVE CF, who put on events all over the world. The president of the Bahrain-based company has initiated an awareness campaign, with the help of the promotion’s fighters, to remind fan of the actions they should be taking to reduce the spread of the disease.
In a press release from the organization on Tuesday morning, following the announcement that UFC 249 would push ahead, Shahid remained steadfast in his view that MMA events should not take place until health authorities and governments allow for normal activity to resume.
“Everyone is losing something with this pandemic,” stated Shahid in the release. “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. 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.”
“Today we are being misrepresented as a sport because of decisions like this,” continued Shahid. “We are the toughest sport? Yes. 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.”
“Certain regulations must be put in place, by a professional regulation body, not from one man’s agenda, which is always money-based.”
BRAVE CF was founded in 2016 and have put on 34 shows in 19 different countries across the world. They have often worked in collaboration with local promotions in territories where MMA is less developed, in order to help with the sport’s growth in those regions. BRAVE CF have also partnered up with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and hosted their amateur world championships for the past three years to support at a grass roots level. Shahid reiterated in his press release that it is through these types of collaborations that the sport would be elevated to a higher level, as opposed to one promotion being driven solely by financial gain for their own self-interest.
“A new system is needed for mixed martial arts,” mentioned Shahid. “We need to move past the event business and into the sports business. We should treat MMA as a sport, and MMA should be recognised 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. 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”.