Matrix Fight Night has taken the extreme step of banning Afghan fighters following crowd trouble at the promotion’s most recent event. Trouble broke out when Seth Rosario stopped Zahor Shah late in the opening round.

The Afghans in the audience thought that the round had already ended. However the confusion was caused by a couple of interruptions when the timer was stopped while the referee soke to Shah.

A detailed explanation can be found here:


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Total ban

But it is in the comments that things start to get really interesting. Ayesha Shroff announced that Matrix Fight Night would never feature an Afghan fighter on a card again:

Ayesha Shroff Instagram post

The news is likely to send shockwaves through the MMA community in India because Afghan fighters have featured regularly on Matrix Fight Night cards. Among them is Abdul Azim Badakhshi who is coming off back to back wins for the promotion.

The welterweight outpointed Fabricio Oliveira at Matrix Fight Night 8 and stopped Marcelo Guarilha at Matrix Fight Night 7. He headlined both cards and the Indian promotion seemed to view him as a marketable star.

He was in attendance at MFN 9 this weekend and shared a photo of himself with promoter Krishna Shroff:

Bollywood celebrities

But he now looks set to be cast adrift by the promotion. On the Matrix Fight Night website Ayesha Shroff is described as ‘the Brainchild behind the MMA Matrix and the backbone of the Tiger Shroff owned MMA Gyms and Matrix Fight Night’.

Her children, Tiger Shroff and Krishna Shroff, are also heavily involved. The family is very well known in India and are familiar faces there due to their success in the Bollywood industry.

While this is not the first time there has been crowd trouble at an MMA event it is almost unprecedented for a promotion to ban fighters of a particular nationality from fighting due to issues with the audience. Some Russian mixed martial artists have been restricted from competing since the country invaded Ukraine, but that is more of a political issue.

It leaves Indian based Afghan fighters like Badakhshi and Shah with a very uncertain future. If they are unable to compete on Matrix Fight Night events in future then domestic opportunities will be virtually nonexistent.


Matrix Fight Night officially confirmed in an Instagram post on Monday (see above) that it will be discriminating against all fighters from Afghanistan. No-one from that country, not even the promotion’s biggest star Abdul Azim Badakhshi, will ever be able to compete on one of its cards again.

The promotion released a statement just now announcing that this discriminatory policy was official. Ayesha Shrof states unequivocally that,

“No Afghan fighter will ever feature on an MFN card again.”

While promoters are free to pick and choose who they want on their fight cards it is rare in this day and age for any employer to admit they are discriminating along racial lines, particularly in such a public fashion. It will be interesting to see what the fallout from this is and whether Badakhshi can find himself a new home.