Before he signed up to fight ‘the world’s scariest man’ Martyn Ford, Sajad Gharibi was set for a debut fight in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, but it never happened
Sajad Gharibi, known as ‘Iranian Hulk’ to fans around the world, came close to launching a bare-knuckle boxing career.
The 30-year-old announced in late 2019 that he had signed with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, but the interest in his debut eventually fizzled despite apparently having an opponent lined-up. He has long been linked with fighting Ford, and Polish promotion KSW even teased making the bout happen, but Gharibi instead opted to join the American outfit.
On November 16 of 2019, as the broadcast of Artem Lobov and Jason Knight’s rematch was getting into gear from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, the promotion aired a promo package announcing that Gharibi was joining them for a future bout. It was later confirmed he would be fighting in 2020, with promotional boss David Feldman explaining his plans for the fighter.
“This guy’s going to make his Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship debut in early 2020,” Feldman said of the signing at the time. “We’re going to do a show entitled ‘USA vs. Iran: World War III’. He’s literally our biggest signing we’ve ever had. But he’s going to make his way over to Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, he’s going to make a home here, and we expect really, really big things from ‘The Iranian Hulk’.”
But just months later the world was a very different place. Events were cancelled across America and the rest of the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic, and BKFC was shut down from February to July, when they were forced to have events with minimal attendance.
Other celebrity fights were cancelled, including rugby star James Haskell’s proposed Bellator MMA debut at Wembley Arena that May and the proposed showdown between YouTubers-turned-boxers Jake Paul and KSI following both men’s professional debuts.
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But it wasn’t the pandemic that ultimately put paid to the idea of Gharibi fighting in the unique bare-knuckle squared circle. Reached for comment by Mirror Fighting recently, Feldman explained that the promotion were never given requisite proof that the social media star’s pictures were legitimate.
The promotion ultimately fell out of communication with Gharibi, Feldman added, and talks fizzled when they weren’t given assurances that he was “real”.
But it wouldn’t take long for the Instagram sensation, who has over 1.1million followers, to find other suitors for his signature, ending up with Boxstar for his debut, which takes place on April 30. He will fight Ford in a huge grudge match, and has posted videos attempting to show his legitimacy during training camp.
The pair will meet at The O2 arena on a card full from top-to-bottom with celebrities and ex-athletes, including a fight between YouTuber Adam Saleh and Manchester United legend Patrice Evra. Whether or not he will win, and ever earn another shot at the bright lights of BKFC, we will have to wait and see.