Fact talks to professional MMA fighter Mohammad Fakhreddine about the BRAVE Combat Federation and his rise to stardom.
As the world goes through one of the most challenging moments of its recent history with the COVID-19 Pandemic, we ponder the inevitable consequences it will bring to the international economy. Arguably one could look back and recall the last time global markets were shaken to their core in 2008, with the financial crisis ignited by the United States’ housing bubble.
At that time, Mohammad Ali Fakhreddine, a young Lebanese-born boxer was living in California, where he had recently become a dual-citizen. His dreams of building a future in America were cut short when he was one of the nearly 2.5 million people who lost their jobs countrywide.
Mohammed was one of the most prominent boxing prospects out of San Diego, under the mentorship of Ernest “Coach” Johnson. It was there that Fakhreddine learned how to turn his vices into virtues.
“Right when the financial crisis hit the United States, back in 2008, early 2009, I was taking my brother Hassan to train” Fakhreddine recalled. “He was training under Coach Ernest, who invited me to start boxing with them. I told him I thought I was too old but he said it was never too late. We trained for two weeks and I was so eager to fight that I had my first amateur bout then”.
But Fakhreddine was off to a rocky start. “I got beaten up so bad, so bad that I didn’t want to box anymore (laughs)”, he confessed. “I stayed away but Coach called me and said ‘How about we do it the right way this time?’. And so we did, for six months. Then it was different, I won in five seconds”.
Suddenly, the rough experiences in the streets of Lebanon had become valuable lessons for Mohammad, who shares his name with one of boxing’s legendary names. Simultaneously, Fakhreddine got his first shots at MMA.
“A friend from the gym was in jiu-jitsu and got an MMA fight”, Mohammad said. “I didn’t even know what MMA was but I fell in love immediately and kept training. At one point I held a record of 8-2 as an amateur”.
But as many athletes know, it is usually tough to make a living out of the sport in the early days, and it is why the vast majority rely on part-time jobs to pay the bills until their careers have taken off. Fakhreddine trained hard and made a name in the amateur boxing and MMA scene in California but ultimately had to go back to Lebanon and start over.
It ended up being the turning point that shaped the future of one of the biggest Middle Eastern stars. Back in Lebanon, he was offered an MMA bout in his home country.
“There was a show in Lebanon, it was something new for everyone, and they asked me if I wanted to participate”, he mentioned. “I said yes, fought twice, in Lebanon and Jordan, both KO wins. From then on, things started happening”.
The high point came a few years later with the rise of BRAVE Combat Federation, the first global MMA promotion that Fakhreddine has fought for. He became one of the biggest regional stars to sign with the Bahrain-based powerhouse and quickly paved his way into international stardom.
Since then it’s been all about fights and highlight knockouts in multiple divisions, epic rivalries, title shots, and most recently taking part in the most prestigious Mixed Martial Arts competition KHK World Title, the openweight one-night tournament held in November 2019 in Bahrain. ✤
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