Green, who beat Alan Patrick via unanimous decision, said a pre-fight photo paying tribute to Afkari “just really blew my mind” and said “you guys just broke my heart” before walking off the backstage interview set at UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
Iranian state media on Saturday confirmed Afkari, 27, was executed by hanging at a prison in Shiraz. His death sentence for reportedly murdering a government security agent during anti-government protests in 2018 drew a global outcry for clemency that included President Donald Trump and UFC President Dana White. Amnesty International leaked audio of Afkari saying he was tortured into confessing the crime and was innocent.
During the UFC Vegas 10 broadcast, a picture of Afkari was displayed. Green, a fighter who frequently wears his heart on his sleeve, said he was heartbroken by the image and news of the wrestler’s death.
“I thought we were going to be able to save him,” Green said, looking off camera. “He just lost his life? That messed me up. Somebody lost their life for protesting. That just messed me up.”
Bisping tried to steer the interview back to the fight, which Green emphatically won by outgrappling and outworking Patrick. But Green had no interest in continuing.
“There’s nothing to talk about, man,” he said. “That guy just lost his life. I don’t even want to talk right now. That’s just so sad. It’s messed up. Y’all pulled that right before my fight and that just really blew my mind. I can’t even talk right now, bro. Thank you so much. Sorry.”
And with that, Green walked off set after his third straight win since June.