In an emotional video posted on his social media, UFC president Dana White pleaded with the Iranian government not to execute Navid Afkari.
According to the BBC, the 27-year-old Afkari is facing execution in Iran after he “was handed two death sentences over the murder of a security guard during protests in Shiraz” two years ago. According to the report, Afkari’s family contends that his confession was extracted via torture. Human rights activists have said that Afkari, who is a popular wrestler in Iran, was peaceful at the protest and the execution should not take place.
United States President Donald Trump, a close friend of White, posted a statement to his Twitter on Thursday urging the Iranian government to spare Afkari’s life. Trump tagged White — who recently spoke at the Republican National Convention — in his post.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2020
Hearing that Iran is looking to execute a great and popular wrestling star, 27-year-old Navid Afkarai, whose sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets. They were protesting the “country’s worsening economic situation and inflation”…
…To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him. Thank you! @UFC @DanaWhite @FoxNews
White saw what Trump posted and in a video posted to his Instagram, the UFC president pleaded with government officials in Iran to not execute Afkari. Check out the emotional video that White posted below.
“Hey everybody I’m UFC president Dana White. This week, the New York Times wrote a story about a very famous wrestler from Iran. His name is Navid Afkari. He went to a peaceful protest in Iran and he’s going to be executed for that. It was brought to my attention — first of all, this guy is a human being, number two he’s one of us, he could be one of my fighters. The only thing I thought to do was call the President and see what he can do to help this man. And he said, ‘Let us look into it, let me talk to my administration and see if there’s something we can do to save this man’s life.’ So today the president tweeted the tweet that is attached to this video. I would just like to say that I, too, respectfully and humbly ask the government officials in Iran to please not execute this man and spare his life,” Dana White said in his statement.