Chaos erupted at Matrix Fight Night 9 this past Friday in New Delhi, resulting in criminal charges filed against fighter Abdul Azim Badakhshi and a ban of Afghan fighters.
Local MMA fighter Srikant Sekhar, who was victorious early on the fight card against Sumeet Khade, was cheering teammate Seth Rosario in a post-lim bout when he said he was harassed by Afghanis in the crowd after calling out Zahor Shah in his post-fight interview. Sekhar accuses Badakhshi of sucker-punching him as he left the arena moments after Khade was victorious in his bout.
At that point, Sekhar told MMA Fighting, he was assaulted and chased by dozens of people before he left the venue and was rescued by police. Sekhar added he was also “followed to the hospital that night.” By the end of the night, Sekhar said he suffered a fractured jaw and ruptured eardrum; he provided an image of his injuries, though MMA Fighting wasn’t able to independently verify their authenticity.
“I have plates and screws in my jaw now and it will take a while to be back,” Sekhar said via text message. “I’m basically out of work now.”
Sekhar told MMA Fighting he has filed criminal charges against Badakhshi, who did not respond a request for comments. Matrix Fight Night released a statement on its social media announcing that “no Afghan fighter will ever feature on an MFN card again” after what they called a “disturbing incident.”
“There is no sport like MMA, and any kind of disrespect and hooliganism will not be tolerated by us,” read the statement. “I have always said that MFN is a family and as such we will take care of Srikant and look forward to his speedy recovery and return to the cage.”
A request for comment to the New Delhi police spokesperson was not immediately returned; Sekhar told MMA Fighting he would provide a copy of the police report from the alleged incident when available.
Sekhar admits he said “f*** you” to Afghan fans in the audience during Khade vs. Shah, and he alleged that incited fans to throw objects at him.
“I think they didn’t like me, and at the same time Zahoor was also losing,” Sekhar said. “They couldn’t take it. I ignored that fact and started cheering for Seth as he was getting the finish, and again someone from the crowd threw paper garbage or plastic at me and they were showing middle fingers and looking at me, pointing at me out and mocking me. I got pissed on this bunch and said to them, ‘f*** you,’ and flipped back.
“Then one official caught my hand and was taking me out of cageside. He said, ‘Go out of here, this crowd is getting mad at you,’ and started escorting me out of ringside. I was going out with him and out of nowhere I got sucker punched by Abdul Badakshi from behind. I didn’t even see him coming [and didn’t know] where he was. He hit me twice, and I fell down. As I was on the floor, I saw officials pushing him and covering me up. Then the crowd breaks into the arena and starts stomping me.
“The officials and my teammates tried to protect me and they got beaten in the process. They told me to get away from the crowd. I went out and my teammate told me to run because there were like 70, 80 people running behind me. They were chasing me with bricks and rods for a kilometer. Near the exit there was a cop car. I jumped into he car and they threw bricks on the car and spit on me. They even hit the car. Then the police car somehow escaped the mob, and I was saved.”
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