It is no secret that the sport of mixed martial arts is on a global rise in popularity with not only great international fighters, but promotions around the world. Mohammed “The Hawk” Shahid is a fighter out of the Super Fight League in India as well as a key force behind MMA in Bahrain. Thanks to Art of MMA friend Alex Soto, we were able to learn more about The Hawk and his efforts in Bahrain as well as his own up and coming fighting career in the cage.
Growing up in Bahrain and of Indian heritage, you are now a key figure in the mixed martial arts growth and culture in Bahrain. What led you to this point and what were some of your early inspirations to get involved in MMA? Can you take some time and tell us a little about your story and yourself?
Shahid: I always wanted to make a difference, make history since a very young age. Every person whether rich, middle class or poor has their own situational problems. One thing we all have to do is get out of our comfort zone and take a journey to the uncomforting. That is what I did too. I love philosophy and always believed developing my self is the key to success and use the experience of my knowledge to help the future as well, I always did martial arts and watching UFC was the reason I decided to make this a career and it meant I have to reach the top of the game. I quit my schooling while I was in high school and started the journey of being the best person and fighter I can be through mixed martial arts. My inspiration and motivation was myself every step I develop inspired me to work harder every great fighter I see motivated me to challenge my self with the question how can I be better. So I traveled to Thailand to Dubai to India and trained with as many coaches and fighters possible and began fighting in Thailand and later in India. Finally started my own gym here in Bahrain and decided to create more fighters so I can train here with them. And was the reason to making the youngest fighter to fight our of Bahrain and the also made the first ever Bahraini fighter, as well which led to the booming of MMA in the country.
Endurance Federation President HH Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa has been very influential in supporting your efforts in growing mixed martial arts in Bahrain. What has his influence and support meant to you and how has it helped drive and grow MMA in the country?
Shahid: HH Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa is the reason for what MMA is today in the kingdom. His passion for MMA is second to none. He had a vision that was no line different than what I was looking forward to and he decided to support us with all that we require to take not just the athletes but the whole sport of Mixed martial arts to the next level in the world. The plan and vision he has for the KHK MMA team which he formed this year will soon take the MMA world by storm and by the end of this year the MMA world will be talking KHK MMA as the home of MMA sport development. He has supported us in all the ways an athlete can be supported and a also we have together formed a strategy that will develop the sport of MMA in the country and region in a super fast pace and also a strategy that will turn all eyes in the MMA world to Bahrian and KHK MMA. All this would not have been a possibility without him.
Currently fighting out of the Super Fight League, you have won your last two fights by first round TKO. Defeating Mohammad Younus (October 2014) and more recently Prince Alamgeer Khan (February 2015) to bring your professional record to 4-2 (1 loss by disqualification). What has been the key to your success and if you could improve on anything from the last two fights even though they were wins, what would that be?
Shahid: The key to success is the idea of being the best in the world. And just be the greatest fighter that ever lived. To fight them all and challenge myself. I started out fighting in India and became fighter of the year in India 2010 and 2011. Now I want to be the best in the region and now that I have taken that step its time to take the next big step in to the global arena.
While watching video of your recent performances, I noticed that you are very good at changing levels. Striking and take downs, ground and pound. Would you say you take pride in being well-rounded or do you prefer to stay on your feet and strike with opponents with your Muay Thai background?
Shahid: Physical aspect in this sport is just the suit for me but the soul of the sport is winning the mind game, I need to be able to beat every human in front of me by finding a solution. I never thought about Muay Thai or GNP or BJJ. As long as I was able to out smart him be a step a head in thinking and understand myself and him. I would be satisfied. Its all about the being the better one and that is all about winning in the head for me.
With the global growth of mixed martial arts and the rapid growth of MMA in Bahrain and India, where do you see Bahrain MMA in 5 years and where do you see your own rising career in the sport?
Shahid: Bahrain’s MMA in the Next 2 years not 5 will start by being the number 1 place for MMA in the middle east. Bahrain will have all the top MMA athletes out there recognizing KHK MMA to be the place where system for every MMA fighter to be a part of, and we would in the next 5 years change the sport of MMA to a much bigger sport. The world will know it soon. KHK MMA is the next big thing that is going to enter this sport and take to a even bigger heights.
A mutual friend of Art of MMA, Alex Soto brought you and your efforts in Bahrain to our attention. What has Alex’s support and contributions to your cause meant to you? What other fighters and celebrities have been important in helping your efforts and growth?
Shahid: Alex soto is a great friend of mine. He has helped me to a great level in fighting, life and also in motivation and inspiration. A great person and personality and a great fighter. We are working together and will be a part of this great wave that will strike the MMA world in the name of KHK MMA.
Thank you for taking the time Muhammed, is there anyone you would like to thank or plug? Can you tell the fans about your fight school and where they can get in contact with you or follow you on social media?
Shahid: I would like to again thank HH Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa for all his support and for being our great leader and making all this possible that the world will also be able to witness and see soon. For forming the KHK MMA. I would like to thank all my team and Fans for their constant support and messages and good wishes. Bahrain MMA is the name of our school where myself, Alex soto and the top pro fighters train at everyone is welcome to come and join the gym from a newbie to pro athletes.
Thank you so much and its an honor to be a part of this great interview. Thank you.