The last four weeks have not been kind to The Iranian Hulk. Having carefully cultivated an online persona that has seen him gain 1.1 million Instagram followers Sajad Gharibi’s life appears to be slowly unravelling.

Firstly he was widely mocked for being much, much smaller in person than he looks on Instagram after appearing at a press conference. He is set to box Martyn Ford on April 30th and looked much smaller than the body builder when they faced off.

That caused a lot of fans to question whether his Instagram posts had been photoshopped. The Iranian Hulk recently gave a TV interview in which he said even his mum thinks he’s not strong enough,

“I can’t talk to my father and my mother. When I spoke to her, she said ‘the person in this video that I saw was not my son, my son is way stronger than this’.”

Sajad Gharibi, better known as The Iranian Hulk, shows off his impressive physique

Online criticism

It sounds like The Iranian Hulk has really taken the online criticism to heart,

“It hurts my heart when I can’t talk to my family. I have lost my pride and I am destroyed. How can I explain? They deceived me and I fell to the ground.”

The Iranian Hulk also revealed that he suffered from homesickness during the brief trip to Dubai for the faceoff,

“I was sick in Dubai because I was so far away from Iran. Iran is my love and life, I was born in Iran and will die here. I can’t think of living anywhere other than Iran. Some say ‘you want to immigrate to England and become a refugee’ but it doesn’t make any sense.”

Body builder Martyn Ford working out ahead of his boxing match with Sajad Gharibi, better known as 'The Iranian Hulk'

Sleeping pills

He appears to be responding to accusations that he intended to remain in England after the boxing match with Ford. The latter is known as ‘the world’s strongest bodybuilder’ and his physique is the result of hours in the gym rather than subtle, or not so subtle, tweaks on Photoshop.

His preparation for the boxing match, which is set for the 02 Arena in London, sounds far from ideal. The Iranian Hulk says he has become dependent upon sleeping pills which definitely won’t help him to be in peak physical condition for a fight in four weeks time,

“I personally feel very bad and I cannot sleep but I am now taking sleeping pills. When a mum says that to her child, how can it be tolerated? There is a lot of pressure, if I got paid even one dollar to do that I can’t continue.”

It will be interesting to see whether The Iranian Hulk travels to England for the boxing match. But whatever happens this is yet another reminder that no amount of posing for photos can prepare you for an actual fight!