'Despicable behaviour': Fighter's 'unacceptable' act stuns MMA world

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·2-min read
MMA fighter Ahmad Al Darmaki is pictured scuffling with referee Marc Goddard.
MMA fighter Ahmad Al Darmaki has incurred the wrath of the fighting world after attempting to scuffle with veteran referee Marc Goddard during the UAE Warriors 12 event. Picture: MMA Junkie

An MMA fighter has been roundly condemned by the combat sports world after refusing to acknowledge an opponent’s submission and attempting to fight the referee.

During the UAE Warriors 12 event in Abu Dhabi, fighter Ahmad Al Darmaki secured a winning rear naked choke on rival Bogdan Kirilenko, forcing his opponent to tap out.

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Al Darmaki paid no attention to his opponent’s submission however, refusing to release Kirilenko even after fight referee Marc Goddard stepped in.

Goddard was forced to physically pry Al Darmaki’s arm off Kirilenko, prompting him to inexplicably lash out at the referee in an ugly confrontation.

His corner had to separate Al Darmaki from Goddard, with the victor celebrating briefly before he was disqualified.

It’s not the first time Goddard has been rounded on by a fighter, after an altercation with Conor McGregor after a Bellator bout in 2017.

Fighting fans outraged over Ahmad Al Darmaki referee incident

Fans and pundits alike were united in calling for heavy penalties against Al Darmaki, who grabbed Goddard’s collar and shoved him after being prised off his opponent.

High-profile MMA writer and podcaster Ariel Helwani said it was a ‘despicable’ act.

“Great job by Goddard. Despicable behaviour by Al Darmaki,” he tweeted.

“Holds onto the choke way too long and then gets physical with the ref. Unacceptable behaviour. Should be DQ’d, suspended and fined.”

Plenty of others piled on the under-fire fighter.

Fellow MMA reporter Jim Edwards suggested referee Marc Goddard was not the sort of person even a professional fighter would want to tangle with.

“I would absolutely pick Marc Goddard here. In all seriousness, don’t treat a referee like that,” he wrote, while MMA Junkie’s Farrah Hannoun described Al Darmaki’s actions as ‘inexcusable’.

“After submitting Bogdan Kirilenko, Ahmad Al Darmaki was DQ’d for shoving Marc Goddard & getting in his face,” Hannoun said.

Ahmad Al Darmaki sits on top of the ring and celebrates after his UAE Warriors 12 fight, but he was later disqualified for his antics against referee Marc Goddard. Picture: MMA Junkie
Ahmad Al Darmaki sits on top of the ring and celebrates after his UAE Warriors 12 fight, but he was later disqualified for his antics against referee Marc Goddard. Picture: MMA Junkie

“Darmaki held onto the choke for too long after Kirilenko tapped & when Goddard tried to pull him off, Darmaki got heated.

“Inexcusable behaviour by Darmaki.”