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Tough test for Arab warriors.

BAHRAIN is getting all geared up to host the fast-approaching Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) Fight Night Nine on October 25 at Khalifa Sports City.

The event will be held under the patronage of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports first deputy chairman and Bahrain Athletics Association president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

The growth and evolution of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in Bahrain and the region is explored by Cage Warriors chief executive officer Graham Boylan.

Cage Warriors is a UK-based organisation, and it is one of the biggest in the world of MMA.

Cage Warriors currently dominates the scene in Europe and the Middle East, regularly staging events across both regions, from Dublin to Dubai.

Reflecting on the upcoming event which will feature a series of fights ranging from amateur to professional bouts, and including Arab MMA fighters, Graham Boylan described the growth of CWFC.

"Although now over 10 years old, CWFC has really hit its peak since undergoing a change of ownership in 2010, which has seen the organisation expand across Europe and into the Middle East, where the promotion has begun to satisfy the enormous appetite for MMA by hosting shows in Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain and the UAE," explained Boylan.

"Athletes from all over the world have jetted in to showcase their talents, but Cage Warriors has also given local fighters the opportunity to shine, with the likes of Mohamed 'Felx' Ali (Egypt) and Jarrah Hussein (Jordan) proving that fighters from the Middle East have the potential to make a real impact in the sport internationally."

Bouts

Involving two fighters in a cage, which is usually octagonal in shape, professional MMA bouts are contested over three five-minute rounds - five rounds in the case of a championship bout.

A sport encompassing various combat disciplines including boxing, judo and jiu-jitsu, it has been gaining widespread popularity in Bahrain with a number of local gyms offering members training in combat sports including MMA for the more highly skilled athletes.

Spearheading the Middle East and North Africa region promotion for Cage Warriors is Shadi Tahboub, who visited the different MMA facilities in Bahrain and has been scouting local talent for competition.

He noted: "I was very impressed by the level of professionalism and the variety of members, women and men testing their abilities in safe hands - exactly the philosophy of Cage Warriors events and in line with our emphasis on safety for fighters and fans.

"I'm hoping that we can put forward some talented Bahrainis to represent their country in the October championship."

At the close of last year's event, which was held in May at Khalifa Sports City, Tahboub noted that internationally recognised American wrestler and MMA fighter Jesse Taylor was approached by a local gym in order to extend his stay in Bahrain and teach dedicated MMA workshops - a reflection of the sport's increasing demand.

"Everyone was so excited to hear that we had been invited back to Bahrain with the night patronised by Shaikh Khalid, a striking athlete and sportsman whose interest in MMA is longstanding," said Tahboub.

"This time, we're aiming to showcase more regional talent and are looking to provide some dedicated demonstrations for fans."

Tickets will be sold at Virgin Megastore in Bahrain City Centre, in addition to other venues.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Aug 25, 2013
Words:562
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