MMA

Chaos Ensues at Matrix Fight Night 9 in New Delhi, India

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Matrix Fight Night 9 went off without a hitch in New Delhi, India, last Friday right until the final minute. In the end, one fighter ended up in the hospital with an entire neighboring country banned from competing for the promotion.

The promotion is the leading showcase for Indian MMA, having achieved an impressive product in just nine shows since 2019. Of course, the backing comes from the Bollywood superstar family the Shroffs, giving the promotion enormous exposure. Tiger Shroff is a legendary action film star in India, and he has created a show that feels like it’s been around for decades.

Friday’s show at the Siri Fort in New Delhi was no different, producing numerous viral finishes and nail-biter wars. The final fight was a catchweight fight between Afghani fighter Zahoor Shah and Puerto Rican fighter Seth Rosario, who trains in India. MFN has garnered a large Afghani fan base due in part to the growing star of one of their own, Abdul Azim Badakhshi, who was notably seated cage side throughout the night.

The fight stretched into the second round and was officially paused twice to warn of a foul. While the officials’ clock was correctly paused for the fouls, the clock on the broadcast shown to fans was not paused. By the end of the second round, Seth Rosario was mounted on Zahoor Shah punching toward a TKO finish. The referee stopped the fight at 4:36 of round two, although the time on the broadcast appeared to go past the five-minute limit.

Meanwhile, an Indian fighter that won via D’Arce choke earlier in the night, Srikant “Captain Crazy” Sekhar, stood on the floor cheering his teammate, Rosario, to victory. According to testimony from Srikant, the Afghan fans behind him began taunting and throwing garbage at him. Srikant responded by flipping off the seething crowd.

Violent Mob at Conclusion of Matrix Fight Night 9, Effectively Bans Afghan Fighters from the Promotion

After the fight ended, the crowd became more unruly, infuriated by the defeat of their fighter long after the bell. Srikant was ushered out by security, but not before being punched twice from behind by Azim Badakhshi. The violence by Badakhshi gave rise to the Afghan fanbase jumping to the floor and chasing Sekhar from the arena, where according to Sekhar, they pursued him for a kilometer with bricks in hand. Video evidence shows some 70-80 fans chasing Srikant out of the arena.

Srikant’s salvation would only come after he jumped into a parked police car, with the mob pounding on the car with bricks. The police car drove Srikant to the hospital, where x-rays revealed a broken jaw. Srikant is still in the hospital and will have surgery in the coming days. Charges are expected to be filed against Badakhshi by Sekhar, per LockerRoom India.

Ayesha Shroff’s Official Statement

In light of the assault, Ayesha Shroff, the matriarch of Matrix Fight Night, stated that Afghan fighters are now banned from competition for the promotion. Other promotion officials confirmed the ban. The incident casts a dark and shameful on a group of fans who tarnished an otherwise spectacular event showing the rapid growth of Indian MMA.

Requests for comment from Badakhshi’s management were not returned.

Image via Manas Daimary’s Instagram

Srikant Sekhar recovering in the hospital- Image via Seth Rosario’s Instagram

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Chris Presnell is a staff writer for MMASucka. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @mmaecosystem.

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