The Rise of the BumbleBees MMA Team

From left to right: Jack Sepilian, Mohmoud Radwan, Mohamad Ghorabi, Bachir Khachab, and Abdo El Hage

On a Wednesday night early in November at Sky Gym Bsalim, Shogun’s Mohamad Ghorabi gave an MMA guest session with the new up and coming team The BumbleBees. The room humid, hot and sweaty instantly had the sense of hard working perspiring fighters in training, the number of which was greater than the room could comfortably fit. The eyes of excited and enthusiastic students intensely watch every move made by the pro fighter as he demonstrated various techniques. Accompanied by Coach Mahmoud Radwan the class was interactive, friendly and appreciated by all members of The BumbleBees. Let’s take a look at exactly who they are, where they come from, and where they plan on going.


Who are the Bumble Bees?
August 2014 saw the birth of the concept of the BumbleBees MMA team, and from then on it was about one year until they emerged fully created as an independent team and are ready to enter fighters into the realm of competing. With two coaches, Bachir Khachab and Abdo El Hage, and general manager and founder Jack Sepilian, the team is in good hands. Let’s give them an introduction for all those who are yet to meet them.

Head Coach Bachir Khachab is one of much experience in Muay Thai and Judo who started his training as a young lad in Africa for 5 years, and continued training and fighting as he came back to Lebanon. He received his coaching belt from the World Muay Thai Federation in Thailand after having been several times. This Coach has the experience of fighting in Muay Thai, Judo, MMA via White weapons, and Knock Out academy competitions in Lebanon. He has spent his time teaching MMA in various gyms within Lebanon, over the recent years he has been the resident coach in In-Shape gym, Ashrafieh, as well as SkyGym, Bsalim. One of few words and very well-mannered, Coach Bachir has a talent for communicating fighting skills; sensitive to each individuals strengths and weakness he sees and zones in on to build up the fighter inside out, from scratch, no matter what age.

“I didn’t intend to get this far, I was teaching for my love of the sport without the idea to grow into what we have become. It was my students who pushed me to take them further to advance, expand and become the head of our own Team. We are on great terms with everyone in the world of fighting within Lebanon, we just happened to expand and have now become an independent team” – Coach Bachir Khachab


Coach Abdo El Hage, who holds a Khan 4 belt from the World Muay Boran federation in Thailand, started as a student of Coach Bachir. With a background in Muay Thai, Judo as well as JiuJitsu and 6 months training in Dubai in the MMA Fitness Center previously, he has fought in numerous Lebanese Championships. Unfortunately he suffered a major injury of a popped blood vessel in the brain after the severe intensity of hits throughout different competitions; he was asked to stop competing by his doctors. Also a person who is soft spoken, well-mannered and with a sense of silent confidence, he became the assistant to Coach Bachir 5 years back and after the injury became a coach. Once the number of students began to increase and there was a distinction between those who were to compete and those who were just training, the class was separated as Coach Abdo focused on prepping fighters to compete. He travels to Thailand for 2 months at a time every couple of years, as well as Dubai for one week each 6months to keep himself up to date in techniques and coaching.

“We are getting noticed as we have various fighters, around 10 members entering all types of tournaments and we were contacted by the new Federation as they were created to be a part of the MMA federation. Our focus is training Lebanese fighters and strengthening the skills of those within Lebanon, we want to become a wide national team.” – Coach Abdo El Hage

Jack Sepilian, the spokesperson, manager, coordinator and assistant of the Bumble Bees started his training 8 years ago with Coach Hisham Boustani and then trained under Coach Bachir, and has a background in Muay Thai, BJJ, K1, and MMA competitions. Once Coach Abdo became a coach of his own, Jack stepped up to be the assistant and expanded his knowledge to work towards being a coach, and pushing to have Bumble Bees created. A proud Armenian, Jack is aware that there is a lack of Armenian Lebanese fighters in the region, and hopes to bring up more as throughout the world there are very well known skillful fighters in the UFC, K1, and boxing who are proud to hold the Armenian nationality.

He hopes to get the message across to all that “MMA is not just the aggressive scary sport the public views it as, it is self-defense, it is control of the body and mind, it is a way to control people’s anger. The sport of MMA actually teaches people to be peaceful as within a fight you have to think calmly and always have control to be able to fight”.

What is behind the name?
Where did the idea of the name BumbleBees come from? An interesting story, what they wanted was a creative, funny, small creature that was dangerous and easy to remember as a name. Coach Abdo had thought of hornets, but due to it being a name of a big basketball team, they landed on ‘The BumbleBees’ in reference to the badass adaptable protector transformer from the movie Transformers. The logo was developed by Abdo, of a tough bumblebee with abs, biceps, wearing boxing gloves in yellow and black with a red background, with the slogan “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” the famous Mohamad Ali saying who is an inspiration to most fighters on the planet.

Where are they going?
Big hearts, heavy training, and a realistic vision are what come to mind to describe this lot. These guys are very serious when it comes to those who want to compete and have a strict schedule of training. They take a comprehensive look to see if a fighter is ready and won’t allow any, of any age, to put themselves at the risk of entering the ring until they are certain the athlete is confident and skillful enough to enjoy the sport at that level.

They have 4 gyms associated to the name. The basis of training stems from Sky Gym, but they also coach in In-shape gym, V-club, and ABBA (Armenian Black Belt Academy) that have trainings hours every day of the week Monday through Friday with the different Coaches.

In general across the different gyms there are 50-55 members between the ages of 14yrs-30yrs, 10 of which have already competed. Currently they have 6 fighters preparing for two different competitions; K1 Championship and White Weapon coming up in December 2015.

All fighters are sent between all of the gyms. Each fighter who has a competition coming up will rotate, experience training within all of the different locations and have the chance to spar with all of the different students. An excellent team of coaches who communicate and compliment each’s style, they are left with strong and flexible fighters who are heading further up the line of skill, talent and status.

“We want to expand in spirit, in the level of skill, and in the number of members” says Coach Abdo.

Good luck to you BumbleBees! We have already seen good things and are sure we are all yet to see a great number of talented fighters coming up and out of the newly completed team.

+ posts



Latest Articles

Popular Now

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!