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UFC signs disgraced former Iranian wrestler Aliakbari, in breach of contract with Kadyrov’s ACA promotion

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One of MMA’s most notable heavyweight prospects may have ended his UFC career before it even started.

When Amir Aliakbari announced that he was headed to MMA, he instantly became one of the most interesting prospects in the sport. Only 26-years-old at the time, Aliakbari was already a 2x gold medal world champion wrestler for the Iranian national team. He was also banned from international competition for life. A pair of failed drug tests – the first of which saw him miss the 2012 Olympics – put an end to his career on the mats, and brought about the start of his career in the cage.

Now 31-years-old and sporting a 10-1 record training out of AKA Thailand, the 6’ 4”, 250 lb Iranian looks as though he is on his way to the UFC. Combate first reported the news of his signing. But, once again on the cusp of athletic prestige, Aliakbari finds himself the center of controversy. Shortly after Combate’s story broke, Ramzan Kadyrov’s Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA) promotion has released a statement, saying that the heavyweight fighter is in breach of contract.

“Iranian fighter Amir Aliakbari announced that he has signed a contract with the UFC, forgetting that he has a valid agreement with ACA,” said ACA president Alexey Yatsenko, via the promotion’s Facebook page. “We have reminded the athlete of his obligations and have also notified UFC Vice President Shawn Shelby and matchmaker Mick Maynard about the violation of this fighter’s exclusive agreement with our organization. We sent all the documents confirming Aliakbari’s obligations to our league.

We are waiting for explanations from the fighter and the response from the UFC on this issue and we reserve the right to take appropriate measures to protect the interests of our promotion.”

Just back in April, newly signed bantamweight prospect Muin Gaurov’s UFC debut was cancelled, after ONE Championship made a similar claim on his contract status. If the UFC follows suit here, Aliakbari’s career in the Octagon may be over before it even got started.

The ACA was formed back in November of 2018, when Kadyrov announced that he would be folding Absolute Championship Berkut in with World Fighting Championship Akhmat. The promotion currently plays host to a number of UFC veterans, including Albert Tumenov, Marcin Held, Daniel Omielanczuk, Luke Barnatt, Efrain Escudero, Hacran Dias, and Chris Camozzi. Aliakbari is 3-0 under the promotion’s banner, having most recently defeated DWTNCS vet Shelton Graves via first round KO, back in March.