Nasrat Haqparast will not be allowed to take the old flag of Afghanistan with him into the octagon this weekend in Paris. The UFC has imposed a blanket ban on national flags and he took to Instagram to voice his displeasure.

In a message written in the Persian and English he announced that he would be representing Morocco in his upcoming fight:


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A post shared by Nasrat Haqparast (@nasrat_mma)

Afghan roots

The Taliban took over Afghanistan last year and promptly banned MMA. That hasn’t stopped Ahmed Wali Hotak from training there and competing overseas so it’s possible the ban is not as strict as had originally been reported.

Haqparast was born in Germany but his parents are both Afghans who came to the country as refugees. He doesn’t seem to be aware that the UFC has banned fighters from taking flags into the octagon and intends to fly the colours of Morocco this weekend,

“(I) could not find a better choice than the flag of Morocco because Morocco has been supporting (me) wholeheartedly for a long time as a good athlete and Muslim,” he wrote in Persian.


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A post shared by Nasrat Haqparast (@nasrat_mma)

Paris bound

He faces John Makdessi at UFC Paris this weekend. It is a fight that has been in the works since 2019 and was cancelled, rebooked and then cancelled again before finally being confirmed for the Accor Arena on Saturday.

This will be the first time in history that the UFC has promoted an event in France. The 20,000 capacity venue has previously played host to NBA games and Celine Dion concerts.

But if Haqparast attempts to take a flag into the octagon, be it Afghan or Moroccan, he can expect to have it unceremoniously ripped away. That is what happened to Li Jingliang when he draped the Chinese flag around his shoulders after his win at UFC on ABC 3.

There have been several Afghan fighters wanting to take the old, green, red and black flag, into the octagon. Technically it is the wrong flag as the Taliban has replaced it with a different version that doesn’t seem to be particularly popular with mixed martial artists.

Haqparast doesn’t appear to have got the memo and if he wins at UFC Paris then employees could find themselves detailed for flag snatching duties again.