Meet Belal Muhammed, the Palestinian Making Waves at UFC
On Sunday, June 13th, Belal Muhammed stepped into the infamous UFC Octagon to fight Damien Maia of Brazil, the world’s 10th-ranked welterweight champion. In a ruthless show of determination, the American-Palestinian continued to shut down Maia over three consecutive rounds, earning his biggest win in UFC so far.
During his celebration, Muhammed raised the Palestinian flag all around, an act that must have empowered as well as taunted millions around the world. However, the 32-year-old feels that it is his responsibility.
In an interview with Arab News, he said: “For me now, I have a voice for the voiceless. There aren’t a lot of Palestinian athletes that have a stage or platform where they can carry the flag. And now, especially during these times, I need to carry that flag higher than ever. To show the world that we do exist, that we are a country, and there are real people there.”
Belal Muhammed was born in Chicago, Illinois to Palestinian parents. Throughout his years in highschool he took up wrestling, slowly honing his skills for the next big thing.
In 2016, he debuted at UFC Fight Night 90, although he lost this face-off against Alan Jouban, it didn’t stop him from continuing his struggle for his dream. A few months later he returned in a fight against the renowned MMA fighter Augusto Montaño to win with a TKO in the third round.
“For me it means a lot now, you’re fighting for more, now I have a voice for people that don’t have a voice, for people that the world wants you to forget about. So, if I keep shining a light on that, raising their morale, raising their hearts, I’m going to do whatever I can.” He continued on the issue of representing Palestine.
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