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Ali Abdelaziz banned from PFL events pending resolution of battery case

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Ali Abdelaziz
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Manager Ali Abdelaziz’s recent legal troubles has the Professional Fighters League keeping him at arm’s length.

The league told ESPN on Wednesday that Abdelaziz will be forbidden from attending events following his involvement in a physical altercation with fellow MMA manager Abraham Kawa at an Oct. 11 PFL event, an incident that has resulted in Abdelaziz being cited for battery. That is in addition to a battery charge filed against Abdelaziz on June 21 stemming from an altercation with UFC fighter Colby Covington.

Both incidents occurred in Las Vegas.

Abdelaziz represents many prominent fighters in the UFC and the PFL, including several who will be competing in the PFL playoff event taking place Thursday evening. Regarding the Oct. 11 incident, for which Abdelaziz has not been formally charged, the PFL released a statement to ESPN in which they declared that Abdelaziz is banned from league events until the matter is resolved.

“At league direction, Ali Abdelaziz will not be attending upcoming postseason events,” officials wrote in the statement. “Given the fact this is a legal matter, the league has no further comment at this time.”

Abdelaziz also spoke to ESPN, stating that he is cooperating and would not want to be a distraction for his clients.

“I spoke to PFL executives earlier this week and I don’t want this story to be about me,” Abdelaziz said. “The focus should be on my athletes in the PFL. I have 10 athletes fighting on Thursday and we made sure everybody made weight and has everything they need. I continue to support my athletes.”

According to Kawa’s account on the official police report from Oct. 11, Abdelaziz “struck him in the face with a closed fist” without provocation after Abdelaziz approached him for what he thought was a conversation. The report also mentions that the story was corroborated by Leisette France, the fiancee of UFC fighter Anthony Pettis, a client of Kawa’s First Round Management.

Shortly after, PFL spokesperson Greg Savage told MMA Fighting that the promotion was aware of the incident and would continue to gather information.

Abdelaziz’s relationship with the PFL dates back to the time when it was branded as the World Series of Fighting, where he worked with that iteration of the organization as a matchmaker. In 2015, his client Khabib Nurmagomedov was involved in an altercation with Nick Diaz at a WSOF event, and in 2018, Abdelaziz and Kamaru Usman became embroiled in an argument with a fan at a PFL event that led to both men being escorted from the premises.