Photo by Daniel Herbertson for Sherdog.
Have you keeping yourself up at night wondering why Bjorn Rebney has been unable to bring Mamed Khalidov to Bellator Fighting Championships? Me either. We've got the answer for you in any case. Sherdog reports:
"Ultimately, the next middleweight tournament begins in September and I, because I'm Muslim, have to fast for the length of August," said Khalidov, referring to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which in 2011 will be observed Aug. 1-29. During that period, Muslims are prohibited from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset, an obvious impediment to MMA training.
"I don't train at all during this period, and there's no way I could fight as early as September," explained the Chechen-born fighter. "I need at least two months to prepare and, for me, the fasting is more important than fights in Bellator or even [Polish promotion Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki]."
I had some whole spiel typed up about how Ramadan is absurd, etc. Then Tim Burke and I were talking about the story, and he suggested it might be a smokescreen to mask KSW's frustrations with Bellator blocking bookings for Euro fighters.
Then I started wondering if Khalidov's story checked out. I mean, if he's not interested in Bellator's tournament due to Ramadan, surely he would have remained consistent in the past, right?
I should note that the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, which is 11 to 12 days shorter than a solar calendar. As a result, the dates of Ramadan shift each year.
In 2008, Ramadan fell between September 1 and September 30. This did not stop Khalidov from fighting on both September 13 and October 10.
In 2007, Ramadan fell between September 13 and October 10. Khalidov fought on September 15 and then again on November 10.
In 2006, Ramadan fell between September 24 and October 23. Khalidov fought on November 19.
In 2005, Ramadan fell between October 4 and November 2. Khalidov fought twice on October 15.
I don't care whether Khalidov observes his holy days or not, but it's clear that his story lacks a foundation considering he's fought during and following Ramadan in the past.