More details have emerged about the crowd trouble at Matrix Fight Night 9 last weekend that led to the promotion banning all Afghan fighters from competing on its cards. Abdul Azim Badakhshi is alleged to have sucker punched Srikant Sekhar and broken his jaw.
Badakhshi is Matrix Fight Night’s biggest star and holds a 13-4 record. He wasn’t fighting on the card but was cage side to cheer on his compatriot Zahor Shah who was facing Sekhar’s teammate Seth Rosario.
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Sekhar described exactly what happened in a detailed interview with Locker Room:
“I was jumping up and down as Seth was having his fight with Zahoor. Before that I called out Zahoor and told him “F*ck you” in front of all the Afghanis. All Indians shouted and all the Afghanis kept quiet. Then they waited for Seth’s match. Then Seth was beating Zahoor up. I was jumping because he is my teammate. Zahoor was getting beaten up and these guys couldn’t take it as Indian crown started roaring.
At the same time the guys (Afghanis) behind me threw bottles at me and I turned back and they were mocking me. Because I think they didn’t like me and at the same time Zahoor was also losing. They couldn’t take it.
Then I ignored that fact and I started cheering for Seth as he was getting the finish and again someone from the crown threw paper garbage or plastic at me and were showing middle fingers and looking at me and pointing me out and mocking me.
I got pissed on this bunch and said them f**k you and flipped back. Then one official caught my hand and was taking me out of cage side. He said “go out of here, this crowd is getting mad at you” and started escorting me out of the ringside.
I was going out with him and out of nowhere, I get sucker-punched by Abdul Badakshi from behind. I didn’t even see him coming neither I knew where he was. He hit me twice and I fell down. As I was on the floor, I saw officials pushing him and covering me up. Then the crowd breaks into the arena and starts stomping me.
The officials and my teammates tried to protect me and they got beaten in the process. They told me to get away from the crowd. I went out and my team mate told me to run because there were 70, 80 people running behind me.
They were chasing me with bricks and rods for a kilometer. Near the exit there was a cop car, I jumped into the car and they threw bricks on the car and spit on me. They even hit the car. Then the police car somehow escaped the mob and I was saved.”
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In the aftermath of the incident Matrix Fight Night announced it was permanently banning Afghan fighters from competing on its cards. Several other Indian promotions have followed suit in a move that is sure to bring accusations of racism.
Badakhshi allegedly assaulted someone and it looks unlikely that he will ever feature on another Matrix Fight Night card. But multiple MMA promotions in India have all agreed to ban Afghan fighters from competing.
The Afghans in attendance allege that Sekhar, who won earlier in the night to improve his MMA record to 7-6, provoked them. But the chaos that ensued will have repercussions for any mixed martial artists from that country who had hoped to compete in India.