Siyar Bahadurzada: I'm Not the One Being Unprofessional Here

Afghan-born fighter Siyar Bahadurzada may regret some of the language he used when lashing out at Strikeforce over the internet last week, but he stands by the sentiment, Bahadurzada told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.

Though Bahadurzada said he signed a contract to fight for Strikeforce in April of 2010, he has yet to be offered a fight with the organization, and said repeated attempts to contact Strikeforce about the situation have been ignored.

"It's pretty frustrating, because [it's] a year of my career when I'm in top shape," Bahadurzada told Helwani. "Look at my last three fights. They've been knockouts or technical knockouts. I feel that my reign is coming right now. I'm 26 years old. I'm growing every day. I'm better today than yesterday and I'm sure that tomorrow I'll be better than today. They are making me wait for so long [in] my prime, and this is a very expensive year for me. I'm an athlete. I cannot fight until I'm 60 years old. I have to fight right now, [in] my prime, to get as much belts and as much glory as possible and make a lot of money. They have me waiting and waiting and waiting."

It's this frustration, Bahadurzada said, that prompted him to call Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker a "pig" on Twitter, where he also told Strikeforce officials to "roll up my contract and stick it up ur a--es!"

Bahadurzada told Helwani that he wanted to apologize to his fans for the language choice, but said he felt disrespected by Strikeforce and that's when his "dark side" surfaced.

"My mentality has been like this since I was born in Afghanistan in the war and I've been raised in the war. I've been through a lot. ...I used to fight with older guys on the street who were not fair to me, and I would beat the sh-t out of them. I would not take anything from anybody. That's why [my grandfather] called me 'The Killer.' This is my dark side. I tell everybody I have a good and a dark side, and my dark side comes out every once in a while when I really feel I've been disrespected."

To hear Coker tell it, the only issue keeping Bahadurzada from making his Strikeforce debut is a delay in acquiring a P1 entertainment visa, which allows foreign entertainers and athletes to work in the United States. But Bahadurzada said it is Strikeforce's responsibility to apply for a P1 visa, and to his knowledge that still hasn't happened yet.

"In my case, they have to ask for a P1 visa to be able to fight in America. But I've been in America before, so it's not a problem. It's not a problem to ask a visa for me. ...Applying for a visa starts when you sign the contract and give it to the lawyer so he can apply for a visa. If you do not do that, it's not going to happen."

Bahadurzada believes that it is his Afghan nationality -- not visa issues – that has made Strikeforce drag its feet on bringing him to the U.S. to fight.

"Actually, I really think...that this comes because I am an Afghan," Bahadurzada said. "I have an Afghan nationality, and people do not want me to be the champion in the United States. And trust me, that will happen. If I get my foot in the United States and I fight for the organizations, I will become the champion some day. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when I will become the champion."

Bahadurzada added that "fighters are fighters and there shouldn't be any racism in the sport." He suggested that perhaps Strikeforce thinks it will be difficult to market an Afghan fighter to American fans, but stressed that he's an exciting finisher who looks for the knockout -- unlike other "boring fighters" who Bahadurzada said make him "literally start laughing" when he hears they are on Strikeforce cards -- so his nationality shouldn't be so much of an issue.

"It's tough for them to market me in America and promote me in America because most people think that every Afghan is a terrorist, but it's not true. What I'm fighting for, me personally, Siyar Bahadurzada, is not for the Afghan government. I'm fighting for those little kids who are like me when I was back in the war. I want to bring smiles to those children. Those children look up to me. I'm a very famous person in Afghanistan. Almost everybody knows me in Afghanistan, and they look up to me. I want to give those children hope."

Coker, however, implored Bahadurzada to "get your paperwork done" so he could fight for the organization, adding "In the meantime, talking the way he did, it just seems very silly to me."

If Bahadurzada can't "act as a professional," Coker said, "...then we're not going to have him."

But Bahadurzada, who said he turned down offers from Bellator and MFC to sign with Strikeforce, said there is one party who is behaving unprofessionally in this scenario, but it isn't him.

"Before saying those things, I knew what the consequences would be. Knowing the consequences, I felt so bad even being disrespected like that, knowing the consequence that I might never fight for Strikeforce or any other American organization [for] doing so, because they think I'm unprofessional. But I'm not the person being unprofessional here. I have been treated unprofessionally for the last one and a half year[s]. When you feel your prime is here and nobody gives a damn about your prime or your career, then you feel disrespected."

Added Bahadurzada, "I just want a date or a release from my contract. That's it."

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