The Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) warmly congratulates GAMMA Member Nizar Taleb for being elected to the Executive Office of the Palestine Olympic Committee.

Taleb, a former three-time World Kickboxing Champion, has headed GAMMA Palestine since 2021 and is also President of the non-profit organisation Sports For Everybody, which works daily on behalf of refugees and children in communities that cannot afford to practice sport.

Taleb was voted into the Executive Office for a four-year term during the General Assembly of the Palestine Olympic Committee yesterday, which coincided with the official opening of a new NOC headquarters in Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem. More details can be found here.

“It is a tremendous honour for me to have been elected for the Executive Board position within the Palestine Olympic Committee,” Taleb said. “I will work tirelessly on behalf of all athletes and provide a powerful voice inside the Olympic Movement for the sport of MMA and for the disadvantaged, especially our Palestinian refugees.”

Taleb was born into a Palestinian Refugee Camp in Lebanon, which is where he draws his inspiration to support refugees through combat sports. To date, he has built kickboxing schools in seven Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Through Sports For Everybody, he has supplied equipment and funded tournaments and travel for athletes. 

The 14-member Executive Office of the Palestine Olympic Committee, headed by NOC President Major General Jibril Rajoub, is elected following each four-year Olympic cycle 2021-2024

Yesterday’s General Assembly was attended by representatives of all Palestinian sports federations as well as delegations from international and Arab organisations.

MMA received official NOC recognition in Palestine on 29 June 2021, with Taleb named President of a five-person Palestine MMA Committee. Since then, the Committee has promoted mixed martial arts throughout the country, while also laying the groundwork to further develop the sport at the grassroots level.  

Taleb said: “There is a lot of history behind Palestinian sports and, in spite of all the suffering and difficult conditions that the Palestinian people are going through, they still cling to life and practice sports with great passion. We have a wonderful sports system that takes care of athletes in all states of Palestine including the refugee camps in the Diaspora.”

“We are focusing on the grassroots development of mixed martial arts. In addition to training and developing athletes, we also want to create the proper structures, governance, and a long-term plan.”

GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt applauded the tremendous progress that GAMMA Palestine, under Taleb’s leadership, has been making: “I’m not sure when Nizar finds time to sleep as he is so busy working on behalf of others, usually those with the weakest voices. I cannot be happier that all his hard work is finally being recognized at the highest level of sport in Palestine. The announcement is a win-win for MMA in the country and for the National Olympic Committee of Palestine, as Nizar will put all his experience, knowledge, and indefatigable spirit to work for both. My hearty congratulations to him!”

The Palestine Olympic Committee has sent teams to compete at each Summer Olympic Games since 1996. Palestine was first recognised as a member of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in 1986, and by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1995.