One of the most influential figures in Jiu Jitsu was in Dubai on Sunday as Royce Gracie, considered one of the pioneers of Mixed Martial Arts, gave his fans the opportunity of a lifetime.
MMA fans in the region gathered at the new HM Fitness Centre at The Dubai Bowling Centre where the UFC Hall of Famer was conducting a two hour long session on his family’s defensive style of Jiu-Jitsu.
The HM fitness centre is home to the Gracie Academy, their first facility in the UAE. This world renowned academy teaches the Gracie Family techniques and style of MMA that have been perfected over the years by Royce Gracie himself, and helps their students to develop the most effective system of self-defence.
The workshop consisted of participants of all age groups, from the very young to the professional Jiu-Jitsu fighters grasping the opportunity to receive hands on training from the legendary Gracie.
It was not only men who took part in the workshop, but excited ladies also participated in the training to improve their skills at self-defence.
Also present at the event was Tam Khan, the managing partner of HM Fitness, a Mixed Martial Artist and the founder of the Contender MMA Centre.
“It is very good to have Royce here,” a delighted Khan said. “It shows our legitimacy in the market that we are real and we are being the best. It’s like bringing down Mohammed Ali for boxing, because he’s the Godfather, and so is Royce.
Khan also shed some light on the UAE’s presence in the bigger international MMA scene, stating “We will have a UAE representative in UFC in the next ten years for sure.
“I’m going to have a big show coming this year, and a lot more professional events, a lot of kickboxing as well as boxing, Jiu-Jitsu events and many more world class seminars.
“We are just going to keep it exciting for the fans bringing people like Royce over and keep it buzzing. Maybe even something with professional wrestling. So stay tuned!”
Ben Scott, manager of HM Fitness Centre said: “We have had people fly in from Saudi for the workshop, people are coming in for the events which is fantastic to try and bring it to the masses. Quality goes through everything that we do; quality of equipment, quality of coaches. We strive for five star facilities and give the best to our people.”
Speaking of how important it is to have big names like Gracie come into the centre, Scott added: “It is an honour to have him, he is a pioneer of MMA and UFC. We don’t want any old instructor; we want the best, world class seminars, world class instructors, everything of that level. We don’t want to be second best, we want to be on top and you cannot have much better than this.”
The pioneer of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Gracie also highlighted the necessity to educate people in the region “There is so much talent around here so it is just the question to know how to explore and train the guys. Many people think it is violent, it is not violent, its Martial arts, it is not picking out thugs from the street. There are so many people with so much talent that hasn’t been explored yet.
“It is just the question to learn, teach and develop the skills”.
Ayat Abdussalamov, a young trainee at the workshop could not believe he trained with Gracie, saying “He is just amazing and a legend. I did not have to think twice to come for his workshop.”
Lise Knudsen, a female fighter attending the workshop added: “It was a lot of fun! This was a great training from an excellent fighter. I wish we can have more seminars like these.”
HM Fitness Centre is open 7 days a week from 6 AM to 12 AM.
For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/HMFitnessCentre
Floyd Mayweather Junior says he will name his next opponent within a week – and it won’t be Manny Pacquiao.
Mayweather, who arrived in South Africa yesterday to help promote boxing in the country, named Britain’s Amir Khan and Argentina’s Marcos Maidana as the leading contenders for his next bout in Las Vegas on May 3 and said: “We will know within the next seven days.”
The undefeated Mayweather, now 45-0 after dominating Canelo Alvarez for a majority decision in September, also wrote off Pacquiao’s renewed attempts at making their mega fight happen as desperation because of the Filipino’s unpaid tax issues.
Mayweather said of Pacquiao: “Two losses and tax problems later, now he all of a sudden want to say: ‘You know what? I’d do anything to make the fight happen’.”
While it seems clear that Pacquaio will not be facing his long-term rival Mayweather, his good friend Khan may well finally be granted his opportunity at the pound-for-pound number one.
The former two-time world champion has been keen to secure a shot at Mayweather and recently told Sport360° why he deserved a shot at the highly-skilled American.
"I want the Mayweather fight,” Khan bluntly told Sport360° earlier this month while in Dubai. “A lot of people are saying Maidana could be in the frame, but he is a guy I have beaten. He is a guy who hits hard but he is just another Saul Alvarez (who Mayweather outclassed in September).
“Why is Floyd always fighting one style of fighter? People want to see him in an explosive fight; people want to see him come up against someone with speed, movement, and agility.
“I know that I would bring more money to the table than someone like Maidana. I know that if I fight Floyd he will get paid a lot more than if he fought Maidana."
The UAE’s Abdulmunam Al Hashmi was elected unopposed as president of the Asian Jiu Jitsu Union (AJJU).
Al Hashmi, who is also president of the UAE Jiu Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), secured all 26 votes in elections held at the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi following conclusion of a forum hosted by the Jiu Jitsu International Federation (JJIF).
The Emirati will head the AJJU until the next elections in 2018.
UAEJJ board member Fahad Ali Alshamsi was elected as the general secretary of the new-launched Asian body while Kuwait’s Sheikh Fahad Al Talal Al Sabah took charge as first vice president.
The AJJU executive committee also consists of a deputy general secretary, five vice presidents and six board members. Al Hashmi immediately got down to business and held a meeting with representatives of Asian countries where he stressed on the importance of promoting the sport.
The Emirati pledged his and the UAE federation’s full support and assistance not just to popularise but also look into areas of the sport that could be further improved.
Apart from JJIF president Panagiotis Theadoropoulous and general secretary Dana Mortelmans, over 50 JJIF and Asian Olympic Committee (AOC) members, including AOC director general Hussein Al- mussalam, attended the elections.
Jiu Jitsu has yet to be included in the Olympic Games programme despite being on the World Games roster, but the launch of the Asian union is expected to give a fillip to JJIF’s efforts to get the sport included in the Olympics.
The sport has gained popularity in the UAE with several internation competitions being held in the capital under the patronage of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.