One day until Desert Force hits KSA for the first time with “Desert Force Al Academiya Finale” featuring three Desert Force title fights and 2 Al Academiya Finales. In the featherweight division, Iraqi Yaser Zaid will face Jordan’s Ghaleb Al Harahshe in a fight that might be ended by either parties.
ArabsMMA had the chance to call up Raad Jameel Abbas, the face of MMA in Iraq, to discuss how his MMA journey started. Raad Abbas, who is dedicated to building up and supporting not only those who participate in mixed martial arts but the whole scene itself in Iraq, has two of his best fighters stepping into the Desert Force Cage for the first time this December. One of which will have the chance to make history as the first Iraqi to hold a Desert Force title.
According to Mr. Raad who self funds Iraqi Combat Fighting Championship (ICFC) along with his Team “Samurai”, this whole journey started when one of his students, Hasan Talal had his MMA debut in Cage Warriors.
“The idea of starting an MMA promotion came up after we were introduced to the sport through Cage Warriors. It was all go from there. We organized the first ICFC and received a lot of support from federations”.
After the first ICFC, the Arab world witnessed the birth of a huge MMA market, ready to export ferocious fighters. Arab fighters seemed to possess noticeable knockout power, and strong mental and physical determination, but they lacked ground game, as did most of the regions fighters did at that time. Mr. Raad took the initiative to create a Team and bring in trainers from different backgrounds in order to fully prep fighters to confidently enter the cage.
“It was then we realized that some of the fighters had good potential to excel in this sport, so we brought in wrestling and boxing trainers as well to help with improvements. We also had the pleasure to send some of the fighters to Amman, to train with Coach Ashraf Shishani.”
Not long after that two Iraqi fighters showed up on the MMA scene (Ammar Majed ,Ali Al hadi) with little success under the Desert force banner. This was only the start, as more and more local events shed light on soon to be some of the best fighters in the scene.
“This was the start of part of the journey, as we also had two fighters in the first season of Al Academiya who worked their way through to the semi finals. Ahmad Saeb, one of the two, went on to face and defeat the Jordanian Saif Kandour, the win of his first pro fight.”
Now, December 15 will witness the boom of Iraqi MMA as Yaser Zaid,known as “The Crazy Man”, will fight for the Al Academiya featherweight title against Ghaleb Al Harahshe. This fight comes after an impressive journey this season to finish off his opponents. Zaid, who is Mr. Raad’s student will be representing Team Samurai in a fight that some say will go the distance.
“Thank God Yaser reached the finals of the second season of Al Academiya, where he will face Hasahshe for the title in Saudi Arabia. Hussein too will take part as he makes his debut in the middle weight category. We promise the fans exciting fights no doubt”.
“I would like to thank Mohamad and Zaid Mirza for leading on these top level championships and for helping in expanding the sport and taking fighters to a whole new level.”