Israel and Bahrain to cooperate on MMA event in Tel Aviv

The event under the tagline "Fighting for Peace" will feature Israeli and Bahraini fighters competing against fighters from around the globe.

 MMA fighter Haim Gozali and the Bahraini embassador. (photo credit: Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain)
MMA fighter Haim Gozali and the Bahraini embassador.
(photo credit: Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain)

A Manama-based MMA promition owned by Bahraini prince Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa is set to hold a one-time event in Tel Aviv pitting Bahraini and Israeli fighters against mixed martial artists from across the globe.

The event, to be held under the "Fighting for Peace" tagline, was organized by Israel's leading MMA fighter Haim Gozali, who will join the battles in the ring alongside seven other Israelis and a host of Bahraini fighters.

BRAVE Combat, the leading MMA promotion in the Middle East, will hold the event in Tel Aviv's Menora Mivtachim Arena on March 3, 2023. Some 12,000 MMA-enthusiasts from Israel, Bahrain and the world are expected to attend.

The peace squad

The squad of Bahraini and Israeli fighters, dubbed by the event's producers as the "peace squad," was established to combat the "challenging situation" between Jews and Arabs, they said in a statement. "This is how we will show the world sport is an international language, no matter your faith, nationality or sexual orienation.

"We can live together in full harmony - If we wish to," the statement added.

 MMA fighter Haim Gozali and the Bahraini prince Hamid bin Khalid al Halifa.. (credit: BRAVE combat) MMA fighter Haim Gozali and the Bahraini prince Hamid bin Khalid al Halifa.. (credit: BRAVE combat)

Incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the Abraham Accords-inspired sporting event, saying that "sport connects between people and this event is yet another factor in strengthening Israel's relationship with Bahrain."

The universal language

Gozali, 49, took part in Bahrain's National Day celebrations last week at the Bahraini embassy in Tel Aviv. The MMA fighter also met with the Bahraini Ambassador to Israel, Khaled Youssef Ahmed Al Jalahma, who spoke to him on the planned cooperation between Bahrain and Israel in the mixed martial arts arena.

"We agreed that sport is a universal language...He is looking forward to the event," Gozali said of the Bahraini ambassador.

 

 MMA fighter Haim Gozali in action. (credit: BRAVE combat) MMA fighter Haim Gozali in action. (credit: BRAVE combat)

"The sport of MMA enjoys a great momentum right now and has millions of fans around the world," he said and added that "the sport stopped being in the 'only for the crazies' niche long ago. The last years showed that the Israeli audience is hungry for an event like this."

"The last events were a big success without a doubt , but last year we decided to put together something especially big and exciting in cooperation with the Brave Combat company...We decided to organize a huge event in Israel."

"BRAVE Combat Federation" was founded in 2016 and is the biggest Mixed Martial Arts company in the Middle East, employing fighters from around the world. Its owner Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the fourth son of the king of Bahrain, is expected to attend the event in Tel Aviv.