Afghan mixed martial arts fighter, Javid Basharat, submitted Israeli fighter, Oron Kahlon, in their Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) match yesterday, serving justice after Kahlon called Basharat a "terrorist" before the fight.
On Monday, during the weigh-ins for their Contender Series bout, Kahlon missed his intended weight by three pounds (1.3 kg), putting the fight at risk. When the two fighters had the traditional face-off following their weigh-ins, Basharat refused to shake Kahlon's hand, leading to Kahlon being heard calling him a "terrorist."
In the caption of a post on his Instagram account, Basharat responded furiously to the slur, claiming that "This p*ssy [Kahlon] wanted a way out by missing weight by 3 pounds." When he told the Israeli fighter that he would beat him in the match, "he then called me a terrorist. [He] wanted a reaction again [and] wanted a way out."
Basharat was, indeed, true to his word yesterday, brutally unleashing a series of blows with his elbows on Kahlon in the first round, and seeming to enjoy having the upper hand in the second. It was four minutes into the third round when the Afghan fighter decided to submit his Israeli opponent with a guillotine choke.
Following Basharat's victory, UFC president, Dana White, said that "justice" was served for the "terrorist" accusation when he beat Kahlon. He also insisted, however, that Kahlon did not go too far with the slur, saying that "you can add that to the pile of some pretty nasty things that have been said in this sport … Mean things are said. In this insanely politically correct world we're living in, this is one place that is not."
Basharat's refusal to shake the Israeli fighter's hand is the latest instance of sportsmen refusing to shake hands with Israeli opponents, which usually accompanies the outright refusal to play against opponents from the apartheid state. In previous years, a number of Egyptian judokas have especially been famed— and defamed—for refusing to do so.
The enmity between the Afghan and Israeli UFC fighters, in particular, comes at a time when the two countries are at an all-time difference with one another, following the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan in August and Israel's view that a Taliban government could threaten its national security and interests.