Reza Madadi should be waking up this morning in a luxury hotel in Seattle with a UFC record of 3 wins and 1 loss. The Swedish fighter had built up enough momentum that the UFC selected him to face TUF winner Michael Chiesa on the UFC card in Washington shown free on Fox across America… a chance of a lifetime for an up-and-comer fighter.
Anyone that follows MMA or Reza Madadi is aware that the UFC card last night didn’t include “Mad Dog” or any other Nordic fighter. The situation for Madadi couldn’t be more different than what was being planned for Madadi when the biggest bout of his career was announced in late April.
Just a few weeks prior to Madadi’s next-fight announcement, the Stockholm based fighter stepped in as a big underdog against American Michael Johnson. Madadi, who each year wins the peoples award in martial arts as the biggest fan favorite, looked like he was on his way to losing as the oddsmakers predicted, but it was the drive of wrestler to keep going. A kick to the head from Johnson at the end of the first round knocked down Madadi in what would have been a bound-ender for most, but somehow Madadi survived it.
“He got me – not 100 percent, but 99” Madadi told Kenny Florian in the Octagon after the bout. “My chance against him was very small, but I just wanted to be here and have a good time.” continued the ecstatic fighter who eventually began to take-down his bigger opponent and finished the bout with an unexpected submission in the third round.
Madadi celebrated by running out the cage to the roaring crowd that came to see their home-town hero. The Iranian-born fighter had just won his second bout in the Octagon, and just beat a top-level lightweight fighter that in the year prior won 3-straight bouts in the UFC. Madadi was becoming a star outside of Sweden, and a favorite of UFC brass like Dana White.
White showed his appreciation by awarding Madadi him $60,000 and a seat at the post-fight press conference. Madadi was on top of the world, and I remember asking him about how he planned to spend his money (see video below):
Reza Madadi was on top of the world. A winning record in the UFC, mainstream media coverage, and living his dream in the Octagon. It was more than most had imagined from the lightweight out of Stockholm.
His next bout was booked quickly as the UFC wanted to keep the charismatic star visible. However, a month after the bout, it was announced on UFC Tonight that Madadi wouldn’t be able to travel to the US due visa issues and there was a replacement for his planned Seattle bout against Chiesa. A tough break for Mad Dog that seemed to slow the momentum.
Then again in May, it was reported by Expressen.se that Madadi was detained for suspicion of being involved in a “smash and grab” robbery at a posh purse and handbag store. The story seemed suspicious, bizarre, and came out of nowhere. MMAViking.com made no mention of the media reports which Madadi’s lawyers say that the fighter denies the charges against him.
For the last two months, Madadi has has been held awaiting charges. During this time, rumors have swirled, but no action has been taken by prosecutors that have week after week delayed the decision to prosecute or not as they take their time to assemble any evidence. Action has however been taken by the Swedish MMA Federation and the UFC that has suspended the fighter pending the case. Without any judgements or convictions, the career of Madadi was taken hits. It all seemed a bit pre-mature to take such actions in this unprecedented situation.
The prosecutor of the case Linda Lauronen tells Kimura.se this week that tomorrow Madadi would be prosecuted, and if found guilty in a trial would face six months to six years of prison.
Former training partner David Bielkheden has written the best piece titled ‘My friend Reza’ that I’ve seen on the subject, and we have published here by permission.
MMAViking.com has not published all the reports about this subject because we don’t have any first hand knowledge of any facts or have access to Madadi. We only know Madadi as the light and unseen energy that steps into the training room, ring, cage, weigh-ins, and press conferences. He is missed.
I’m not sure what the future hold for the 33 year old… but some clarity should be coming soon. In Sweden you hold your thumbs and in America you cross your fingers when you hope for the best. I’ll be doing both.