The organisations have held a joint press conference to present local press with the plans for a momentous event that will change the landscape of mixed martial arts Europe.
BRAVE Combat Federation, the International MMA Federation (IMMAF), and the Serbian MMA Federation have today held a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia to officially launch the Serbia BRAVE International Combat Week, the first edition to take place outside of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The biggest combat sports week in Europe in 2023 will kick off on February 11 with the 2022 IMMAF World Championships and will have its climax on February 18, when BRAVE CF 69 is expected to take place inside the Stark Arena, in Belgrade.
The press conference had the presence of representatives from the three organisations as well as Mr. Zoran Gajic, the Serbian Minister of Sports, and MMA star Aleksandar Rakic. They were joined by BRAVE CF president Mohammed Shahid, IMMAF president Kerrith Brown, and Serbian MMA Federation president Luka Nikolic.
Mr. Mohammed Shahid expressed his gratitude to the hosts, and hailed the impact of His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the founder of BRAVE CF, in transforming mixed martial arts not just in his native Bahrain or in the Middle East but across the world.
‘’First of all, I would like to thank the Prime Minister of Serbia and Luka Nikolic, the president of the Serbian MMA Federation for their support. I want to also take this moment to thank His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa. His vision for BRAVE CF was always about developing MMA not just in Bahrain or in the Middle East – and the vision was very simple: change MMA from an event business to a sports business. We always knew that this was not possible by ourselves, we needed the right people and partners and we found the right people and partners to make it happen’’.
Mr. Shahid also spoke about what the fans can expect from this momentous event, which is set to transform MMA in Europe as much as it did in the Middle East and Asia when IMMAF and BRAVE CF hosted the World Championships in Bahrain between 2017 and 2019.
‘’We have seen the case study of how much the sport has changed in the Middle East and Asia. What we are witnessing today is the massive change that we saw in a whole continent also happening now in Europe. This will be a historic moment for all the athletes in the continent and around the world. They will be competing in Europe for the first time in a World Championship’’, said Mr. Shahid, who finalized by saying what fans can expect from the curtain-closer of the Combat Week, BRAVE CF 69.
‘’We have fighters from across the world coming for BRAVE CF 69, athletes from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and we have one of the top Serbian stars also fighting on that card, they will all be in action to put on a show for the Serbian fans’’.
Mr. Kerrith Brown, IMMAF president, also made sure to thank the long-lasting partnership between BRAVE CF and IMMAF, with the first International Combat Week taking place in Europe for the first time and firmly setting records for the year in the continental MMA scene.
‘’I would like to thank the president of the Serbian MMA federation, Luka, and the Prime Minister for hosting the IMMAF and BRAVE CF events between February 11 and February 18. I want to also thank His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Mohammed Shahid, and the entire BRAVE CF team for their support in making this event happen’’, said Mr. Brown.
BRAVE CF 69 will headline the International Combat Week and it will have a huge main event, as interim Lightweight world champion Abdisalam Kubanychbek looks to unify his world title against contender Kamil Magomedov. In the co-main event, Serbian MMA superstars Aleksandar Ilic returns home for the first time in nearly five years when he takes on Brazil’s number one Middleweight Cleber Sousa in a Catchweight bout of 88kg.