Iranian MMA star apologizes after he had to relinquish purse to Ring Girl he kicked

An Iranian mixed martial arts star has been banned and fined by a Russian MMA promotion after kicking a ring girl during a recent event.

The incident occurred at a Hardcore Fighting Championship (HFC) event on April 19th. Prior to his main event bout, star  Ali Heibati inexplicably kicked a ring girl on the behind as she walked by him holding a round number card.

Ring girls are hired to carry these cards and move around the cage between rounds, playing no active role in the actual fight itself. Heibati’s actions were seen as completely unwarranted and disrespectful.

Video footage of the kick quickly went viral, drawing widespread condemnation from fans and the MMA community for Heibati’s unacceptable treatment of the woman who was simply doing her job assignments.

In response, HFC took strong disciplinary action against Heibati. The promotion stated that his previous apology was “absolutely insufficient” and that his conduct of “leaving your hands towards the ladies is the lowest a man can stoop to.”

As punishment, Heibati has been banned from competing for HFC. Additionally, he has been fined, with the entire fine amount to be paid to the ring girl he kicked, named Maria.

Heibati did attempt to make a public apology video featuring Maria, claiming he disrespected her due to nerves. However, HFC’s harsh sanctions suggest more needs to be done to address unprofessional and unacceptable behavior towards women at MMA events.

The incident has highlighted the broader issue of respecting all staff and personnel involved in putting on combat sports shows. Martial artists must maintain disciplined conduct at all times towards everyone from their opponents to event workers simply doing their hired duties.