The opening bout of UAE Warriors 38: Africa 5 recently ended in controversy after only 16 seconds.
Ayman Galal of Egypt and Babacar Niang of Sinegal faced off in a welterweight bout that was highly anticipated, but it ended anti-climatically. The match was ruled a no-contest after Galal landed a fould spree on Niang.
UAE Warriors 38 was held on March 17 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, and it featured several promising mixed martial arts matchups. However, the opening bout was marred by Galal’s unsportsmanlike conduct.
Galal dominated the start of the match with his striking, but when Niang tried to take the action to the ground, he failed. Niang ended up on the canvas in a curled up position, and Galal started punching him to the back of the head multiple times. Despite the referee’s attempts to separate them, Galal continued attacking Niang until the match was stopped.
The doctors and staff checked on Niang, who appeared to be injured and unable to continue. Instead of disqualifying Galal, the match was ruled a no-contest.
Hitting an opponent in the back of the head is a serious offense, and athletes who do this intentionally should face harsh consequences. Galal’s behavior was unsportsmanlike and could have resulted in permanent damage to Niang. Young boxer Prichard Colon is a sobering example of the dangers of hitting an opponent in the back of the head. He suffered critical brain damage at the age of 30 and is now in a vegetative state.
MMA needs to be better about policing fouls and making sure that good sportsmanship is prioritized.
Ezra Samuel is a passionate freelance writer with a particular love for covering MMA news. His interest in the sport dates back to his college days, and he has since established himself as a respected voice in the MMA community. Over the years, Ezra has contributed his writing to a variety of digital outlets, including the popular site calfkicker.