Shaked Nisimian. (screenshot) screenshot
Shaked Nisimian

At only 19 years old, Israeli martial artist Shaked Nisimian took home the gold medal at the MMA World Championships in Serbia last week.

By United with Israel Staff

Last Thursday, Shaked Nisimian became the first Israeli ever to take gold at a mixed martial arts (MMA) world championship competition.

Nisimian won the under-21 MMA world championship, which was held in Serbia, fighting in the the 70-kilogram weight class. Nisimian’s sister Roni, who was on hand competing as well, cheered Shaked on as the judge’s declared her the winner after three rounds.

The 19-year-old has a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu, a Japanese martial art that focuses on close combat, and has competed in the Abu Dhabi Jiu Jitsu Pro (AJP) competitions in the past. During the 2021-2022 AJP season, Nisimian racked up three victories, two by submission and one by points.

“I’m so excited [that I] won [Israel’s] first gold medal in MMA,” she told the Israeli media after the win. “[T]o hear our anthem again, this time in a new MMA format.”

“This was just a taste of the many exciting moments ahead that will come with God’s help,” she proclaimed.

The Nisimian sisters are in good company as Israeli MMA fighters on the rise, joining the ranks of competitors like Natan Levy, a 31-year-old Israeli who competes in the premiere-level Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) league.

Levy recently had some choice words for antisemitic rapper Kanye West during the former’s rash of hate-filled rants in December 2022.

After defeating Genaro Valdez in a unanimous decision at UFC Orlando, Levy delivered a blunt message to West.

“I think life is too short to hate, so to all these hateful people, it sucks for you. I pity you,” Levy commented to MMA Fighting.

“Kanye West, if you’ve got a problem with me or my people, come see me, bro,” he added.

Levy continued, “I get a lot of ‘lovely’ DMs all the time. I am Jewish, it’s what I am, it’s what I was born, I’m very proud of it and I will fight for it. I will fight for my people in the Octagon or wherever need be. And I will not stand for antisemitism, I won’t stand for any racism—not around me. Don’t bully anybody around me, or I’m gonna find you.”

In an interview with the UK’s Jewish Chronicle (JC) in September 2022, Levy warned, “If you learn martial arts, no one bullies you.”

According to Levy, one of his goals when he enters the cage to fight is “show[ing] that Jews are brave, that we can fight and take care of ourselves.”

“I don’t officially represent Israel and the Jewish people,” he clarified, adding, “I feel I do in the way I behave and present myself.”

To that end, Levy waved an Israeli flag in the cage when he won his first match in April 2022, brushing off the “free Palestine” comments he receives from detractors.

Levy warned, “Every Jew in the world should learn the art of self-defense. … Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do.”

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