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Ibrahim El Sawi Vs Abdallah Abou Hamdan – A Chronology of Events


In case you have been hiding under a rock for the past week and missed the biggest news story in Middle Eastern MMA then allow me to give you a little re-cap.

  • Desert Force 13 took place on the 25th of August
  • On the 8th of September Abou Hamdan posted a facebook message that made the following accusations
  • Ibrahim Sawi weighed in at 91.5 KG for a middleweight fight
  • Desert Force declared on TV that Ibrahim Sawi weighed in at 84 KG
  • Abou Hamdan declared Ibrahim Sawi a heavy weight fighter on fight night
  • Ibrahim Sawi responded with his version of the events
  • Desert Force have yet to issue a press release or statement on the issue

We have scoured for information and had all parties give us their side of the events. The best way to make sense of this mess is to help establish a chronology of what happened. So…. Here it goes

Ibrahim El Sawi was supposed to fly out of Cairo on the 22nd of August at 10:00 AM, spend one night in Amman Airport and then fly out to Abu Dhabi on the 23rd at 23:00 arriving in Abu Dhabi at 03:10 am. Ibrahim and his team did not board the plane on the 22nd at 10:00 am since they didn’t have the visas on hand for their arrival to Abu Dhabi. He ended up waiting in the airport until around 23:00 that evening and arrived at Amman Airport around 01:00 on the 23rd of August. Ibrahim then spent the night in the Airport hotel before taking the plane to Abu Dhabi at 23:00 that evening and arriving into Abu Dhabi at 03:10 where he had to wait until 11am before he could leave the airport and make his way to the hotel…. All this whilst cutting weight.

Ibrahim did not make it to the weigh-ins at the time but then claims in his statement that when he first arrived to the airport in Cairo he weighted 86 KG. What he couldn’t account for that he had to wait for a cumulative 21 hours in both airports before getting to the hotel.

Based on what both fighters said and information from what Abou Hamdan’s manager asked for, they asked that Ibrahim not exceed 92 KG the next day on fight day which Ibrahim adhered to when he weighed 91.5KG that day. We have also independently established that the rumored picture of Ibrahim weighing 91.5 KG the day before as inaccurate based on the digital time signature on the original picture which was taken on fight day, hence Abou Hamdan somewhat misconstrued his statement when he claimed that Sawi weighed 92 KG on weigh-ins without specifying that this was Sawi’s weight on fight day and that Sawi stuck to the agreement struck between both camps fo the fight to take place.

The fight took place. Abou Hamdan lost. Sawi won. A new middleweight champion was crowned.


Now this raises a number of questions:
Should the fight have taken place?
100% yes. ABou Hamdan and his team agreed to fight so long as Ibrahim weighed no more than 92 KG on fight day, which he adhered to.

Did Sawi weigh 86 KG on the 23rd of August?
There is no way of knowing this for sure. But lets look at weight cuts and Sawi’s weigh-in record.

Ibrahim El Sawi has never missed weight. If he did weight 86 KG two days before weigh-ins then that is very well within range to hit 84 KG two days later without a shadow of a doubt.

The other related question is whether Ibrahim weighin 92 KG on fight day is acceptable? Lets look at some other fighters and how they handle their weigh-in weight vs their fight-night weight.

  • Thiago Alves weighed in at 170 LBS the night before his fight with Martin Kampmann and then weighed in at 197.6 lbs on fight night. That’s a difference of 12 kG
  • Gleison Tibau weighed in at 155 and fought at 181 the next day against Jamie Varner. 11.9 KG difference.
  • GSP weighed in at 170 the night before his fight with Jake Shields and then fought at 192. Thiago Alves – martin kampmann – weighed in at 170, stepped back up to 197.6. 12.5 KG heavier.


Is it possible that Ibrahim Sawi weighed 86 KG and then weighed in on fight day at 91.5? A difference of 5.5 KG? The answer seems apparent. It is totally plausible and believable to be the case and puts a question mark over Abou Hamdan’s allegation that Sawi fought two weight classes above him at 105 KG.

Should a title have been awarded?
Now this is where it gets tricky and I don’t think there will ever be a consensus on the issue. Since there is no official commission in the Middle East to govern such events. Technically, this means that since both fighters agreed to the bout knowing that Ibrahim El Sawi didn’t weigh in at 84 KG the awarding of the title remains at the sole discretion of Desert Force.

Fight fans will not be happy with this however and questions will remain over whether Sawi should be viewed as the Middleweight champion or whether he is holding a title he doesn’t deserve. Through no fault on Sawi’s behalf, he will likely not be viewed as the champion by the fans.

Did Desert Force mislead the public during the live broadcast?
Officially? Yes. Sawi did not weigh in at 84 KG… Heck he didn’t even weigh in at all. However looking at the event, each and every fighter was declared to weigh in at their category weight (i.e Triki, Yahya, Naemi, Saba all were announced to weigh in at 70KG, Fakhreddine and Eid were announced as weighing in at 77 KG). It is not possible that all fighters weighed in on the money and exactly at their weight. I tend to think that the announcer only announces the bout weight without any mention of the official weigh in weight. This needs to change.

Who is to blame for this and what needs to change?
Desert Force need to get their operations in order. It is not acceptable for a fighter (heck, a title contender) to fly in two days before from and have to spend a night at the airport hotel in Amman. Sawi flew from Cairo to Abu Dhabi!? Not from Caracas. Why are transits needed let alone an overnight transit whilst trying to cut weight? If it was a visa issue then they need to apply for these well in advance. Its not exactly rocket science. They cannot treat their fighters so recklessly and must, absolutely must, get more professional in this department. It isn’t really getting professional, just book the tickets and get the visas in a non-negligent fashion.

Desert Force also need to announce the official weigh-in number on live tv. No excuses.

The media and fans also need to change their attitude slightly. It becomes clear that Sawi could do little about this issue and that Abou Hamdan was trying to put a spin on things by claiming that Sawi weighed in at 92 KG and fought at heavyweight. This isn’t helping matters at all and calls into question why he would go to such an extent over a belt that he claimed to be worthless.

The media also cannot jump to conclusions and try to put a spin on readers opinions. A piece on this website was written in such a shockingly biased way that some fans rushed to claim that ArabsMMA is vehemently pro-Lebanese. This cannot happen. There are other media sources and ranters who will want to cash in on this and make it a huge story despite never covering the promotion. Watch out for those and always question their motives…. Sadly, MMA in this region is still nebular albeit every Tom, Dick and Harry will all want to be claimed as the “experts”.

Ibrahim el Sawi Vs Abdallah Abou Hamdan Fight Video:

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  • A very good article that said many things which were coming to my mind.. I wonder if the writer is a fan like us or one of arabsmma stuff..

    One of the most important issues is announcing the exact weight up to 1 decimal place at least.. like 77.4, 84.3 .. so we can know how much extra weight the player has.. it is really ruining DFC credibility to see a huge man fighting a smaller one , and both of them are announced to have exactly the same weight, while it’s so clear to see that one fighter is bigger than the other..

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