How martial arts fighter rebuilt his life in London after escaping Iranian regime

Comp of Pasha Rafiei training at K.O. Combat Academy

Pasha Rafiei, 36, now lives in London and is a proud member of the MMA community at K.O. Combat Academy (Picture: Gergana Krasteva)

There is a distinctive smell of sweat – typical to well-oiled gyms – at K.O. Combat Academy in east London where mixed martial arts star Pasha Rafiei trains seven days a week.

This is where the ‘Persian powerhouse’ – as he is referred to by fans – has rebuilt his life over the last two years after fleeing Iran in fear for his life.

Watching him deliver powerful kicks while wearing an altitude mask, it is hard to imagine that in 2019 he lived in a refugee camp in Greece where he used old car tyres as a boxing bag to stay fit.

Back in his homeland, Pasha was known as Mohammad Hadi-Rafiei – a successful MMA fighter who had won a number of medals representing his country abroad.

But his life took a dark turn after he complained against the Iranian Martial Arts Federation over ‘corruption’ in 2016.

The sporting authorities also discovered Pasha had been secretly training female students.

‘Under their rules [Sharia law], men are not allowed to train or mix with women, so they banned me from training,’ the 36-year-old told

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5

Pasha wears an altitude mask during training to improve his breathing (Picture: Gergana Krasteva)

Pasha watches over one of his classes, helping fighters improve their technique (Picture: Gergana Krasteva)

‘Everyone should learn martial arts and self-defence, especially women, even if it is just to help others.’

When Pasha returned from a championship in Denmark the following year, the federation twisted the knife even further and banned him from training in gyms.

‘I was proud …read more

Source:: Metro News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.