Reza Madadi wants to “break taboo” of Iranians competing against Israelis at AKFC 2
Many know of Reza Madadi from his UFC stint. The Iranian national, fighting out of Sweden had 7 fights in the UFC before being released and later retiring from the sport. Before his UFC days, he was the Superior Challenge lightweight champion and also won national titles in freestyle wrestling. His UFC days ended with him going 3-4 in the promotion, however, it could have been completely different. Two split decision losses could both have gone his way, you could say he hard done by in those fight but regardless of that, he was always an entertaining fighter.
After announcing retirement the Iranian fighter has decided to get back in the cage in Sweden but in a No-Gi grappling bout. The bout will be seen as an exhibition. In this instance though, who wins is probably the least important thing. The message behind it is what makes this exhibition bout great as Reza Madadi looks to ‘break taboo’ of Iranian fighters competing against Isreali competitors. He will fight Moshe Ben Shimol at AKFC 2.
Speaking with the BBC Madadi explained the reasoning and the background behind this decision
“I cannot travel to Iran any more, but I must break this taboo before saying goodbye to the world championships,” he began. “The story of Mollaei’s experience at the Judo World Championships semi-final against Israel’s Sagi Muki made me take this step and end the story once and for all.”
In the case of Mollaei, he threw a semi-final Judoka match after being ordered by Iranian Authorities ordered him to avoid about with an Israeli player in the final. This news went viral, the sad reality of this is that if he competed, Mollaei would have potentially in danger. This unwritten law is something that has been around with 36 years and there is a list going back as far as 2001 with modern examples of this boycott being implemented.
This is the reason behind this fight and this is the message both competitors have for the world.
“Stockholm is going to have an important message – that religion and politics should not interfere with sport.”
“The reason I am returning is to show the world that two professional athletes can compete with each other despite cultural, religious and political differences – and then leave the gym like two friends,”
“I have great respect for the athletes who will provide us with the basics of this competition.”
These words spoken by “Mad Dog” are truly powerful and inspirational, they show how sport should not be influenced or interfered with unnecessarily.
Iran has an unfortunate history when it comes to sport and politics, it can be seen in this boycott. In censorship for example with 2014 World Cup draw all due to what Brazilian broadcaster was wearing. Unfortunately, it can be at it’s worst when violence occurs as it has in the past. This superfight as it is advertised looks passed all of that and focuses simply on the competition.
AK Fighting Championship 2 will go down on November 16th at the Solnahallen in Stockholm, Sweden.
University of Limerick Economics and Finance Graduate. Editor for MMA Latest News and contributor to MMA Viking also featured on IMMAF, Fox Sports Asia, FanSided MMA and MMA-Today.