Amir Aliakbari after winning a world title in 2013, which was later stripped from him (Photo/Martin Gabor, United World Wrestling)
Amir Aliakbari, an Iranian former Greco-Roman wrestler who has been competing as a professional mixed martial arts fighter since October 2015, has reportedly signed a contract with UFC, despite having been disqualified at least twice in his wrestling career for doping, and reportedly already being under contract with another pro MMA organization.
Aliakbari announced on social media this weekend that he was signing with UFC. Here's his post on Facebook: "Contracting contract with the UFC organization. Please pray for me." https://www.facebook.com/kingamiraliakbari/
A number of media outlets -- including ESPN -- reported that UFC officials had confirmed that Aliakbari had signed with the promotion.
With that news, there are two issues confronting the 31-year-old wrestler-turned-MMA star.
Prior to launching his pro MMA career three-and-a-half-years ago, Aliakbari had won two wrestling world championships. However, the Iranian was stripped of his second title in 2013 after a second failed drug test. He had been not allowed to wrestle at the 2012 Rio Olympics because of a previous doping violation. After the second violation, United World Wrestling, the international wrestling body, banned Aliakbari for life.
Under the UFC anti-doping policy, any fighter who has a past doping violation must be in the USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) drug-testing pool for six months and may be required to pass two drug tests before making his or her UFC debut.
The second issue that may serve as a roadblock to Aliakbari fighting in the UFC is that another MMA organization claims the former wrestler is still under contract with them.
Aliakbari's last three fights were fought under contract with the Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA) promotion, which is now alleging breach of contract.
The president of ACA, Alexey Yatsenko, made this statement on the organization's official Facebook page on Tuesday:
"Iranian fighter Amir Aliakbari announced that he has signed a contract with the UFC, forgetting that he has a valid agreement with ACA. We have reminded the athlete of his obligations and have also notified UFC Vice President Shawn Shelby and matchmaker Mick Maynard about the violation of this fighter's exclusive agreement with our organization. We sent all the documents confirming Aliakbari's obligations to our league.
"We are waiting for explanations from the fighter and the response from the UFC on this issue and we reserve the right to take appropriate measures to protect the interests of our promotion."