The UFC has reversed its prohibition on fighters wearing flags during their walkouts and celebrations, which had been in place for a short while. Fighters’ opinions on this decision are divided.
This ruling, which was made in October 2023, brings mixed martial arts competitors back to the long-standing custom of honorably representing their native nations on the grandest platform. However, Afghan fighter Farid Basharat has expressed his displeasure with the UFC’s stance and is not happy with the organization’s action.
Did the UFC ban fighters displaying flags in the octagon?
UFC fighters represent their nations and come from all around the world. But after the Russia-Ukraine war, the UFC banned flags in March 2022. During a post-match press conference, Dana White was questioned about the reasoning for the decision. He replied, “You guys know why. Let’s not even play that f*****g game.”
Interestingly, Dana White recently announced in a press conference that fighters can once again celebrate with their country flag. He announced this after UFC 229 event, where Joe Pfyer celebrated with USA flag after his win over Abdul Razak Alhassan. Dana said that Mexican independence day fueled the thought to bring back flags.
Dana said, “When the decision was made to do this, I was kind of like, ‘What’s the big deal if they don’t have flags?’ Mexican Independence Day flipped the switch for me and I was like, ‘That’s enough, I’m done with the no flags.’ If any flags hurt your feelings, too f*****g bad.”
Farid Basharat discusses stance on flag
Fighters may have been granted the freedom to celebrate with flags, but MMA fighter Farid Basharat, who is originally from Afghanistan, expressed his displeasure that the UFC forbade the usage of the Afghan flag at celebratory events.
Basharat thinks he won’t be permitted to fly the flag of his native nation. He claimed that he would suffer the same fate as his brother Javid, who was also denied entry to Abu Dhabi.
He said, “I would love to walk out with the flag, but I don’t think they’re allowing the Afghanistan flag. Not the Afghanistan flag. We tried in Abu Dhabi for Javid, and they said no. Because they don’t recognize the current government flag, and the old one is not an official flag. So what flag are you going to bring out? The Afghanistan flag I still a no-no.”
Farid is set to fight Taylor Lapilus under Las Vegas 84 card on Jan 13, 2024. He wants to come out with Afganistan’s flag but that doesn’t seem to be happening for him, maybe in some other fight but not on Jan 13.
Most people were thrilled about UFC’s decision to overturn the ban, but several Afghani competitors, including Farid, were offended by their discrimination against Afghanistan’s flag. It’s reasonable to assume Dana will figure something out as well.