After over a year of inactivity, Iranian heavyweight Amir Ali Akbari has signed with ONE Championship. His management company, Prideland, made the announcement via their official Instagram page:
The company also announced that ONE will be signing some of their other fighters, including Ali Fouladi, Masoud Safari, and Mehdi Barghi.
Amir had signed with the UFC a year ago but was unable to compete due to problems with bank transfers; a consequence of US sanctions against his native Iran. However, it was thought that with Prideland’s merger with Ali Abdelaziz’s Dominance MMA, these hurdles could potentially be overcome.
In an exclusive interview with MMA Dive in July, Ali Akbari stated, “My whole goal in this sport is to compete in the UFC.”
Instead, Ali Akbari will be competing in the Singapore-based ONE Championship. He released a statement calling out Brandon “The Truth” Vera, the reigning champion of ONE. “When I’m finished with him, they’re not going to recognize him,” the statement read.
Ali Akbari has a professional record of 10-1 and is a former world champion of Greco-Roman wrestling.