BRAVE Combat Federation founder and MMA enthusiast His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Prince of Bahrain, is the leading force behind the sport’s charge towards Olympic recognition.
The fifth son of the King of Bahrain, His Highness Shaikh Khaled has been involved with mixed martial arts for many years, first as a team leader, then as the founder of the most global MMA organization, but also as an advocate for reform in the sport.
In the last years, Shaikh Khaled has also had a relevant track record when it comes to successful initiatives in different sports. He has personally helped impact football, rowing, horse racing, amongst other sports.
As president of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, His Highness has also brought immense results for the Kingdom of Bahrain, from the first Olympic qualifications in boxing and wrestling to a legendary run by Bahrain’s Akhmed Tazhudinov, who recently became world champion in freestyle wrestling beating Kyle Snyder and Abdulrashid Sadulaev, arguably two of the best wrestlers in the sport’s history.
It is his mission to take mixed martial arts from an event business to a sport business and to create a sports economic structure under one umbrella. Under these conditions, Olympic recognition is inevitable. And his track record speaks for itself when it comes to bringing change to MMA.
In 2015, he created KHK MMA, a world-class team in which its members were able to live a truly athlete’s lifestyle, concerning themselves with nothing but their own evolution as martial artists and becoming the best fighters they could be.
The team has been home to some of the biggest names in MMA, such as Islam Makhachev, Frankie Edgar, Khabib Nurmagomedov, James Gallagher, Frans Mlambo, among many others. A new wave of KHK MMA fighers is ready to break through with the likes of Muhammad Mokaev, Ikram Aliskerov being joined by some of the best amateur fighters of all time, such as Murtaza Talha, Ramazan Gitinov, and Rasul Magomedov.
With the creation of BRAVE Combat Federation, in September of 2016, Shaikh Khaled set out to globalize the sport, bringing international events to all corners of the world, some of which had never seen a live international MMA show before.
Recently, BRAVE CF has become the most hosted organization in the world, breaking the record by being hosted in 29 countries, a feat that has not been achieved by any other promotion in the martial arts industry. The global calling of BRAVE Combat Federation has been only one of the many successful stories of Shaikh Khaled’s incursion into MMA, which has opened the gates for the Gulf region to become the next big market for mixed martial arts.
BRAVE CF’s long-standing partnership with IMMAF (International Mixed Martial Arts Federation), the premier organization for amateur MMA, first empowered the concept of amateur MMA through the World Championships. A few years ago, going through the amateur circuit wasn’t even an option for fighters. Now, it is thought that the best base for a successful professional career is, indeed, fighting in IMMAF tournaments, and going through the amateur scene is seen as a requirement, not as an option.
With amateur MMA firmly established as the most legitimate pathway to a pro career and the World Championships widely considered the premier competition for amateurs, BRAVE CF and IMMAF have furthered their ties in a push to finally bring MMA to the Olympics.
This had been aided by the creation of BRAVE International Combat Week, the largest combat sports festival on the planet, which combines IMMAF World and continental championships with a mega BRAVE CF fight night. From the four editions held in Bahrain, BICW blossomed into Asia’s biggest event for combat sports, an iconic brand synonymous with success and with record-breaking numbers each year, especially when the IMMAF World Championships took place in the Kingdom between 2017 and 2019.
In 2022, the BICW returned with a completely disruptive format for amateur MMA: the MMA Super Cup was a nation vs nation tournament which aimed to empower the national federations. It was the first time an amateur tournament provided cash prizes, which in this case were given to the national federations for reinvestment in the development of the sport on a local level.
This year, the BICW went international with a historic edition in Europe. In association with the Serbian Federation and the IMMAF, the Serbia BRAVE International Combat Week broke participation and viewership records featuring the World Championships and BRAVE CF 69 to a completely sold-out Stark Arena, in Belgrade. A few months later, the BICW took place for the first time in South America, as Bogota, Colombia witnessed the Pan-American Championships and BRAVE CF 73.
His Highness’ vision for the sport is distinct due to the fact that it is not meant to serve one brand, but to reform the entire MMA industry. With the announcement of the BRAVE National League in 2021, the future looks bright as the IMMAF, in partnership with BRAVE CF, will be established as the top governing body when the league launches in 2024. Through BNL, BRAVE CF will set new records of globalization and will continue to produce the biggest names in the sport and putting the sport in the driving seat to finally enter into a sports business format and one step closer to the Olympic goal.