Saturday Sep 05, 2020
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White is lobbying and using his connections to have the Iranian government spare the life of wrestler Navid Afkari, who has been sentenced to death in his native country.
Afkari, 27, is expected to be executed in Iran on murder charges but his family says that his confession was obtained through torture - something also corroborated by an audio leak of Afkari saying that he was tortured in prison.
Several media outlets say that he is being punished over trumped up charges whereas the actual reason was him attending an anti-government demonstration in 2018.
White, who maintains a large roster of fighters and wrestlers from around the world, has taken up Afkari's case and urged the authorities to do something to stave off his execution.
"This guy, first of all, is a human being, and two, he's one of us. He could be any of my fighters," White said in a video posted on Twitter on Friday.
"I would like to say I too respectfully and humbly ask the government officials in Iran to not execute this man and spare his life." he added.
Among the people he has sought help from is US President Donald Trump, an avowed critic of Iran.
Trump, too, has appealed to the Iranian authorities to reconsider their decision.