IMMAF President Kerrith Brown and Board Member Wissam Abi Nader were in attendance for the Saudi Games alongside the Executive Director of the Saudi Federation Abdullah Al-Hazaa. With mixed martial arts included in the Games as a demonstration sport, the IMMAF delegates witnessed the next generation of Saudi mixed martial artists compete on a national stage.
The 2023 Saudi Games takes place in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, a rapidly emerging hub for combat sports.
This multifaceted sporting event showcased a diverse range of competitions, with a notable emphasis on martial arts disciplines such as Jiu-jitsu, Boxing, Taekwondo, and more. Among the array of competitions, the MMA bouts served as an arguable highlight.
Of particular note was Malik Basahel, who recently impressed at the 2023 IMMAF World Championships. Having competed in the Senior Flyweight division, Basahel won silver at the World Championships, defeating various high-level opponents such as Dmytro Makarov and Luiz Henrique Da Silva.
Basahel continued his inform streak at the 2023 Saudi Games, where he demonstrated dominance and clinched the gold medal in emphatic fashion. This impressive achievement marked his second medal in just a month. With his sights set on further glory, the high-level Saudi flyweight is now poised to compete in the 2023 IMMAF Asian Championships, taking place in the Kingdom of Bahrain, from the 10th to 16th of December.
Following his victory at the Saudi Games, Basahel announced that he would sign for the Professional Fighters League, more commonly referred to as the PFL, one of the top promotions in professional MMA.
The sport of Mixed Martial Arts is rapidly growing in the Middle East, with Teams UAE and Bahrain already establishing themselves as significant players in the IMMAF landscape. All signs point to Saudi Arabia to follow their footsteps and become Asia’s next major MMA powerhouse.