Chahe Yerevanian’s Message After Banning MMA in Lebanon

24 Feb. 2017- In a shocking move from the Ministry of Sports and Youth, for banning MMA in Lebanon, here’s what Chahe Yerevanian had to say:

“I have personally supported and invested in the Sports industry in Lebanon since many years. I sponsor Basketball teams, marathon runners, muay thai fighters, mma fighters, individual athletes and much more. Last year, I wanted to create an international promotion that will put Lebanon on the global sports map. Being a martial artist myself, I decided to found Phoenix Fighting Championship, which is a Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts Promotion. The press conference when we launched the promotion brought a record number of attendees compared to any other event with over 500 fans and 4 international champions such as Buakaw Banchamek and Andrei Kulebin who were going to fight for the first time in the Middle East. The entire martial international community’s eyes were on us. I was proud as a Lebanese bringing this to my beautiful country, as I felt founding SAYFCO in 2004, and making it a leading international real estate player, selling over $3 billion of property in less than 10 years and having contributed to the good of the country’s economy, and now I wanted to do the same with Phoenix for our economy but more importantly to our youth and Sports. The first event which was on December 10 at Nouhad Nawfal Stadium, was the biggest sports event ever known. It was live on LBCI on a Saturday night and had a very high rating in terms of viewers and the stadium was full with over 5,000 fans. There were 24 fighters with 19 different Nationalities including 9 International Champions. The production and lighting and organization was at an international level and we received many interest from international top TV stations to air our future events live on their channel. Our second event was going to be even bigger than the first one with big names such as the Thailand legend Saenchai. My first event’s investment was close to $1 million, and our feasibility was such that from the 3rd event we would start breaking even and grow the brand and within the next year, Phoenix would be evaluated at over $100m or even more. And if it was not such a successful business venture, I was more than satisfied doing it bringing such event to our country and growing the Martial Arts industry and encouraging our youth to practise Martial Arts which I believe is very important to build character, discipline, fitness and many other positive aspects to a person. Then I heard about the new decision of the Ministry of Sports banning MMA and my first reaction was no matter what, I have to respect the laws of our country wether I agree with it or not. So I was the first to post that I will postpone the second event which was planned to be on April 29. Its been over a year that there are problems in the MMA industry especially with the previous former federation (LMMAF), with law suits against it. But from what I understand, the Ministry believes that having two fighters in a cage is inhuman. Something I understand from someone who has no clue about martial arts. But once you see the dedication and training of MMA fighters, you understand that it is the same risks as Boxing or Muay Thai or any other combat sport or even olympic sports such as Pole Vaulting. There are even higher risks in car racing. But all these sports are not banned. MMA is simply a mix of many types of martial arts and the cage is to protect the fighter not to fall off a ring like it happens many times with boxers or kick boxers or muay thai fights. So until our Government comes to their senses and realize that MMA is a sport with more dedication than any other sports in order to practice it, I might move our events outside of Lebanon, where they appreciate the big investment I am doing and positive outcome to a country’s economy and image that such promotions as Phoenix can bring. May God protect our country and I will do my best to bring back Phoenix home.”