Dana White pleads for Iranian government to stop execution of wrestler

"He’s one of us, he could be one of my fighters"

In a shocking move, UFC president Dana White has reached out to the government of Iran – In hopes of stopping the execution of national wrestler Navid Afkari.

Iran has been in a rough spot for some time, with the country’s economy struggling, in part due to sanctions placed by the United States amongst others. This has led to unrest and anti-government sentiments around the nation, with several protests occurring regularly. Afkari and his two brothers attended a peaceful protest two years ago, but were then linked to the murder of a security guard. Following interrogations, a confession was coerced from Afkari, and he was subsequently sentenced to death – Something later confirmed by a state-run news program.

Afkari is an accomplished wrestler and national champion. Iran is a country known for fostering high-level wrestlers that typically do well in the Olympics, and could easily transition to MMA. The news got around to White, who took to social media to plead to the Iranian government to stop their coarse of action. He even called United States president Donald Trump to ask for additional aid.


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“Hey everybody I’m UFC president Dana White. This week, the New York Times wrote a story about a very famous wrestler from Iran. His name is Navid Afkari. He went to a peaceful protest in Iran and he’s going to be executed for that. It was brought to my attention — first of all, this guy is a human being, number two he’s one of us, he could be one of my fighters. The only thing I thought to do was call the President and see what he can do to help this man. And he said, ‘Let us look into it, let me talk to my administration and see if there’s something we can do to save this man’s life.’ So today the president tweeted the tweet that is attached to this video. I would just like to say that I, too, respectfully and humbly ask the government officials in Iran to please not execute this man and spare his life,” Dana White said in his statement on Instagram.

Trump did in fact also reach out to the Iranian government, as he made posts on Twitter asking for Afkari’s life to be spared. So far, no direct response has come from Teheran, the Iranian capital.

Peaceful protests are an essential part of freedom of speech and the cornerstone of any democratic republic. Hopefully cooler heads can prevail, and Afkari’s life can be spared.

Do you think the government of Iran will spare wrestler Navid Afkari’s life following the request of Dana White?

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MMAnytt was founded in 2008.