Over the weekend, Brazilian publication Combate reported that the UFC had signed highly-regarded heavyweight prospect Amir Aliakbari. ESPN subsequently verified this report.
Unfortunately, these reports seem to have been premature — at least partly so. Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA), the promotion that Aliakbari has called home for his last few fights, is claiming that the Iranian wrestler is still under contract with them.
The promotion issued a statement on the situation on Facebook.
“The president of ACA, Alexey Yatsenko, has made a statement regarding the breach of contract by Iranian fighter Amir Aliakbari after he announced he has signed with the UFC.
‘Iranian fighter Amir Aliakbari announced that he has signed a contract with the UFC, forgetting that he has a valid agreement with ACA. We have reminded the athlete of his obligations and have also notified UFC Vice President Shawn Shelby and matchmaker Mick Maynard about the violation of this fighter’s exclusive agreement with our organization. We sent all the documents confirming Aliakbari’s obligations to our league.
We are waiting for explanations from the fighter and the response from the UFC on this issue and we reserve the right to take appropriate measures to protect the interests of our promotion,’ said Yatsenko.”
Amir Aliakbari, who has also previously fought for Rizin Fighting Federation, is a fantastic 10-1 overall. Highlights of his MMA record include victories over Daniel Omielańczuk, Geronimo Dos Santos, Valentin Moldavsky and Heath Herring. His lone loss came courtesy of retired MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop.
Prior to his MMA career, Aliakbari competed as a wrestler, but was blackballed after a pair of doping offences.
Time will tell whether he’s actually headed to the UFC, or if he’ll need to fulfill his alleged obligations to ACA first.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/6/2019.