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Farid Basharat Denied the Opportunity to Walk Out with Afghanistan Flag in UFC

LockerRoom Team
13 January 2024

In a recent announcement by UFC CEO Dana White, the promotion is set to allow fighters to walk out with flags from their home countries once again. However, it seems this rule won't be applicable to bantamweight prospect Farid Basharat and his older brother, Javid.

Hailing from Afghanistan, a nation currently under the rule of the Taliban, the Basharat siblings face a unique challenge. Afghanistan introduced a new flag in 2021 under the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, distinct from the internationally recognized flag of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

This discrepancy has led to fighters from Afghanistan being unable to showcase their national flag during walkouts, and Basharat anticipates that this restriction will persist. He revealed that his brother was previously denied permission to carry the Afghanistan flag in his most recent bout at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi.

“I would love to walk out with the flag, but I don’t think they’re allowing the Afghanistan flag,” Basharat expressed. “Not the Afghanistan flag. We tried in Abu Dhabi for Javid, and they said no. Because they don’t recognize the current government flag, and the old one is not an official flag. So what flag are you going to bring out? The Afghanistan flag is still a no-no.”

While Basharat is disappointed by the decision, he acknowledges it is beyond his control. Expressing his desire to carry the flag as a symbol of hope for the people enduring hardships in Afghanistan, he understands the complexities surrounding the issue, given the political changes in the country.

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“When you’re coming up in the game, and you visualize those big moments, like for me, I always visualize the Afghanistan flag with me and just representing my people,” Basharat shared. “Now I’m always going to represent my people, but the flag is just a nice visual symbol of our people. With or without the flag, I’m always going to represent my people. But the flag would be nice to showcase it."

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