Video: Middle Eastern conflict gets settled with fists

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Desert Force looks set to move MMA up another step in popularity in the Middle East, thanks to TV. Photo by Khalid Walid Hassan.

In the midst of the current era of political turmoil, the Middle East will again be the stage for a major MMA event. With Amman, Jordan, hosting the event, countries that now and again flare up in armed conflict will get to see their representatives do battle in the Desert Force cage.

As previously reported here on, MBC Action, a Middle Eastern channel spanning 22 Arabic-speaking nations, will broadcast the event. The network has run a number of ads for the event ever since the end of the sacred Muslim month of Ramadan.

The lineup will feature an array of different accents. Making his debut in the sport, Mallick Quraan is the son of a Jordanian father and American mother. Born in the USA, he was raised in New Jersey and learned Portuguese from his capoeira teacher. Despite never having visited Brazil, he is fluent in the language. Also featuring at the Middle Eastern event is Gabriel Tayeh, a Brazilian of Palestinian parentage, who is doing his training camp at X-Gym in Rio de Janeiro. The Sul Jiu-Jitsu black belt from Porto Alegre commented on the opportunity:

“It’s a Middle Eastern tournament but half the fighters are of other origins. I feel that makes the event all the greater, because it brings experience and a different technical level from Brazil, the USA and Europe. The folks in the Middle East are really tough, so it’s a good mix.”

Aside from the fighters, there will be Jiu-Jitsu black belt coaches and assistants from Brazil—like Alex Negão Paz, who will be cornering Yahya Alhammadi—a head of security for a prince of Abu Dhabi—, as well as Francimar Bodão, who is training Jordan’s Haider Rashedd.

According to Zaid Abu-Soud, one of the promoters of the event, the central idea in putting on the show is the search for champion-caliber fighters from the region to launch at major shows with a worldwide scope in the near future: “The Arabic youth needs sporting heroes, and MMA can provide it for them.”

Desert Force V – on MBC Action
Amman, Jordan
September 7, 2012

Mazen Alhindi (KSA) vs Ahmded Albousairi (KUW)
Noureldin Isam (SUD) vs Daniel Hilal (LIB)
Karim Khalifa (TUN) vs Abdullah Abou Hamdan (LIB)
Abdelali Mouira (MAR) vs Silvester Saba (LIB)
Mohamad Mashaly (EGI) vs Mallick”Rato” Quraan (JOR)
Tarek Suleiman (SIR) vs Mohammed Abu Naim (PAL)
Moh’d Ibrahim Elmgharbel (LIB) vs Bechir Majri (TUN)
Mahmoud El-Sayed (EGI) vs Yahya Alhammadi (EAU)
Rida Mourak (MAR) vs Gabriel Tayeh (PAL)
Amr Wahman (EGI) vs Ammar Tchalabi (KSA)
Bilel Missaoui (TUN) vs Haider Rasheed (JOR)

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