If you haven’t been living in a cave for the last 10 years you’ll know that America and its allies have been at war in Afghanistan. Not with Afghanistan, but in Afghanistan.
This is not a political article, nor do I hold any views that support either side in this conflict. I myself am a pacifist and think it’s a great shame for innocent people to die for either side. However, this is more of an inquisitive article and maybe readers can provide some answers.
First I will start with Siyar. This guy is an exciting middleweight. He’s riding a six fight win streak with four of those wins coming by way of first round knockout. These wins aren’t against cans either. Robert Jocz was on a ten fight win-streak before his fight with Siyar, while John Alessio was on a six fight win streak. If anything this should make promoters in the major MMA promotions at least curious. He’s tough, he’s exciting; he’s ranked #12 in the world according to Fight! Magazine, and he knocks people out in the first round.
In April 2010 it was announced that he was signed by Strikeforce in what would have been an excellent addition to their lacklustre middleweight division. However, for some reason Strikeforce treated Siyar very badly and kept him sidelined, almost ruining his year. As you can imagine this caused Siyar to be very upset.
At the same time Abdul Mohamed who is arguably the best lightweight in the UK and is the last official British Lightweight Champion has never received any offers from any major US based promotions. It was once reported that he was offered a deal to sign with the UFC following the collapse of Cage Rage. However, I have personally spoken with Abdul and he has denied receiving such offers. Instead he has informed me that he has applied to the Ultimate Fighter on several occasions, and applied to join the UFC through their online recruitment campaign. In return he has not even received as much as a rejection from the promotion.
Not only is Abdul an excellent wrestler and one of the strongest lightweights in the world, he has beaten a number of UK based fighters that have gone on to fight and win in the UFC. Most notably his win over Ross Pearson, a draw with Andre Winner (however, anyone who witnessed that fight would know that Abdul was the outright winner), same can be said for his fight with Paul Daley, who he took down and controlled in every round only to be given a draw. He’s trained with Paul Sass and handled him among many other UK fighters. It is well known that Abdul and his friend Hassan Muradi used to handle Michael Bisping in training on a regular basis despite being lightweight and welterweight fighters. Abdul does have losses on his record; however he has never been handled by anyone. More than one loss came early in his career via TKO cut, in fights he was winning. He has also suffered some submission losses. One of those was at the hands of the red hot Shaolin Ribero, who was 17-1 at the time and considered to be one of the best lightweights in the world.
All of this Abdul has achieved whilst training in the North East of England, running his own camps. Even though he is known to be fighting out of the Wolf’s Lair – in actuality they have neglected him as they invest most of their resources into Michael Bisping’s training, purely for financial reasons. Abdul mainly trains with local fighters in a small gym in Middlesbrough known as Middlesbrough Fight Academy. In his training camps he handles his sparring partners easily, even in final rounds of sparring against fresh opponents – which is a terrible thing for a fighter. In the North East there isn’t one black belt in BJJ, not even close. At the same time since the collapse of Cage Rage he has been taking on lose-lose fights against tough but no-name opponents which have affected his motivation greatly.
With that said, one must wonder why such fighters are overlooked by American promotions and by the UFC. One wonders if it has anything to do with the UFC’s relationship with the Troops and the tragic casualties that occur in Afghanistan. An image of an Afghan fighter raising the Afghan flag following a win in the UFC would not be a sight that would be appreciated by American audiences.
However, even though Siyar and Abdul are proud to be from Afghanistan, as they have fought adversity to get to where they are today and know too well of the suffering that goes on in Afghanistan and the plight of the innocent majority of the Afgahn people; they are family men and fighters at heart. Who fight for themselves, not their country and have no animosity towards America or allied nations involved in Afghanistan, but only want to challenge themselves as fighters by fighting the best.