Fight Antisemitism(Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
Fight Antisemitism


MMA fighter from Beersheba defeats opponent from Kazakhstan who reportedly said ahead of the match that he would ‘burn him like’ Hitler.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

An Israeli mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter had a knockout win against an opponent from Kazakhstan earlier this month who sent him antisemitic messages ahead of their match, according to screenshots shared on social media.

Ilyas Sadykov sent fellow MMA fighter Rafael Aronov, who also works as a police officer in the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva, private messages on Instagram that said “Im [sic] kill you b__ch” and “I will burn you like this guy.” The message was accompanied by a picture of Hitler. The Kazakh MMA fighter also asked Aronov “do you like German music?” and further insulted him with profanities days before their match on March 9 in the Israel World Combat Championship.

Aronov took a screenshot of the antisemitic threats he received and shared them with the Israeli news station Now 14. He told the news outlet that the messages hit close to home since he has family members who survived the Holocaust, but he chose not to response to Sadykov’s messages once they became antisemitic and instead decided to answer him in the ring. He said that “trash talk” between MMA athletes is normal before fights but Sadykov’s messages “crossed the line, honestly.”

Aronov added that his knockout win against Sadykov, in which he won his first MMA championship belt, felt “like a double victory” because of the antisemitic messages he received before the fight.

The Israeli MMA fighter also shook hands with Sadykov after his victory was announced in the ring and afterwards took to Instagram to explain that “it is always important to me both in victory and defeat to be sporty and shake hands after the battle with the opponent.”

“In this case my opponent was revealed to be an anti-Semitic person who sent me a picture of Hitler about two weeks before the battle and told me that he would burn me like Hitler burned the Jews, there are lines that do not cross and there are things about which there is no forgiveness,” he added.

After the fight, Sadykov called the judges “fake” on Instagram and accused them of influencing the outcome of the fight. He asked for a rematch but in Kazakhstan.

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