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Afghan promoter, MMA fighters flee country with help of UFC, Save Our Allies after Taliban takeover

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Several MMA fighters made it out of Afghanistan earlier this week
Photo via Abdul Wasi Sharifi

MMA promoter Abdul Wasi Sharifi, Truly Grand Fighting Championship officials, and several fighters successfully made out of Afghanistan this past Sunday after Taliban took control of the country in August, Sharifi told MMA Fighting on Wednesday.

MMA Fighting reported in September that Sharifi was being threatened by the Taliban after the group made MMA illegal earlier this year. Sharifi’s cry for help was heard and a group of approximately 30 people managed to leave Afghanistan and land in Abu Dhabi this week.

“I finally fled from Afghanistan with my whole TGFC [crew] and their families,” Sharifi told MMA Fighting. “We are in Abu Dhabi since Sunday and waiting for our trip to the United States. Your interview, and around 48 website and TVs that copied your news and broadcast it, helped me to get out. I’m very thankful to you, UFC and SaveOurAllies.org, who helped tell [UFC matchmaker] Mick Maynard and Dana [White] about our situation.”

Chad Robichaux, a former Bellator and Strikeforce fighter who has served in Afghanistan, has been helping to rescue people since Taliban took control in August. Sharifi said Robichaux reached out to the UFC president and the matchmakers and that the UFC “made it happen.” Both White and Maynard will be in Abu Dhabi next week for UFC 267, which goes down Oct. 30 in United Arab Emirates, where Sharifi hopes to meet them in person.

“They help us too much and I help my fighters get out as well,” Sharifi said.

The group of 30 people includes six women and five kids, as well as professional MMA fighters Qudratullah Mohammadi, Tamim Sharifi, Zaki Rasooli, Qasim Rahimi and Mohammad Yaqoob Sharifi. The TGFC HR director and assistant, graphic designer, medical team, finance team, event commissioners and their families also left Afghanistan. Sharifi said Save Our Allies has “requested me to list true fighters for them to evacuate” next.