As the curtain came down on Europe’s largest combat sports festival, much was made of the success of BRAVE Serbia International Combat Week, which took place in Belgrade, Serbia, this past week.
The BRAVE Serbia International Combat Week resuscitated and further empowered the European MMA scene as it hosted the largest amateur mixed martial arts event before the most global MMA promotion rolled out its 69th show in Serbia's capital. The week-long festival promised to transform MMA in Europe as it did in the Middle East and Asia when IMMAF and BRAVE CF hosted the World Championships in Bahrain between 2017 and 2019 - and it did just that.
To culminate an unforgettable week of fights, BRAVE CF 69 took place on Saturday in front of 15,000 people, in a sold-out Stark Arena that left one of the biggest legends in mixed martial arts history in awe of BRAVE CF. Renzo Gracie traveled to Serbia to witness the International Combat Week as a special guest of BRAVE Serbia International Combat Week and the Serbian MMA Federation president Mr Luka Nikolic.
“BRAVE CF 69 was beautiful. The Stark Arena was sold-out. I have never seen so many cars parked outside,” said Gracie.
“It was an amazing night of fights. You could not even blink! The production team had fireworks when they announced my arrival, too. It was so nice to see. I am definitely coming back to the BRAVE CF shows. It was such an honor.
“As for the IMMAF World Championships, it was really inspiring to watch. The future of MMA is in good hands. You can actually still hear the noise as we speak,” added Gracie while being interviewed outside the Stark Arena late last night.
At this year’s IMMAF World Championships, more than 550 amateur athletes from 63 national federations competed for international honors before twelve of the best professionals threw down in the final event of the week - BRAVE CF 69. It was a jam-packed seven days for MMA athletes, coaches, officials, administrators, enthusiasts, and surrounding industries, as Combat Week raised the bar and expectation around the sport across Europe when the entire world drew its eyes toward the Serbian capital.
Last night, two of the most respected individuals within combat sport had high praise for the BRAVE Serbia International Combat Week as IMMAF President Kerrith Brown and legendary combat sports athlete and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu elite, Renzo Gracie could not stop waxing lyrical about what had transpired.
“To see the whole transformation from the amateurs to the professionals, what a transition. This has truly been an amazing week,” said President Brown.
"This World Championships and BRAVE CF 69 will definitely impact the rest of Europe. This was the first time Europe had ever put on a World Championship of this magnitude, as 550 athletes from 63 national federations competed under one roof before the massive BRAVE CF 69 card played out. It’s history in the making''
"It was a case of going from zero to one hundred. It set a benchmark for federations to emulate a certain standard and platform. A big thank you goes out to Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabi?, Serbian MMA Federation President Luka Nikolic, His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa and BRAVE CF President Mohammed Shahid," Brown concluded.