But if he’s being honest, Basharat is motivated to punish absolutely anyone who signs a contract to hit him in the mouth.
“Me, I got tunnel vision,” Basharat told MMA Junkie following Tuesday’s Dana White’s Contender Series 45 event. “A fight to me is a fight. You could swear at my mother. You can do whatever you want. A fight is a fight. I’m still feeling very, very disrespected, just the fact you signed a contract to punch my face, so you can’t really say anything more to disrespect me. You know what I mean?
“It’s just what he said was just not a good look. You don’t get away with stuff like that. But in terms of, like, did I feel disrespected? Yeah, but I feel disrespected anyways. The guy signed to beat me up in front of my family and take food off my plate. That’s pretty disrespectful, if you ask me.”
Basharat, an Afghani fighter, became the center of quite the pre-fight stir after his Israeli opponent uttered the taunt on Monday. That majority of discussion stood in firm support of Basharat, though he admits he wasn’t able to soak it all in while remaining focused on the task at hand. Still, he said it was refreshing to have some support amidst the controversy.
“I did feel that support,” Basharat said. “I try to stay off social media – just in general, I try to stay off it, but for this fight, my phone was just pinging off, like, on everything, and it was a lot of support going. … At the end of the day, it just shows like, man, there are good people in the sport, and they realize, like, man, a guy like this doesn’t deserve to be here.
“You know, they’re all supporting me, hoping that I do well, and like my friends were calling me and stuff and they’re like, ‘You better beat this guy now. There’s a lot of hype.’ I was like, ‘You idiots, I better beat him anyways.’ I’m f*cking here. I’m fighting. Like, this guy is going to take my head off. It’s kill or be killed in here, so any extra comment doesn’t really matter, but it was just interesting how they think of it.”
Ultimately, Basharat was in complete control of the contest in virtually all aspects, dominating from the start before finally securing a submission in the third round. The performance was enough to earn him a UFC contract, and he’s looking forward to moving past the incident that introduced him to many MMA fans. But he won’t completely forget about what happened.
“I’m OK to forgive and forget, and it’s cool,” Basharat said. “But how unapologetic he was about the whole thing, … this guy’s a real douchebag. Like, you can say sorry, and cool. Maybe I can be the bigger man, and maybe I can look at you differently and hopefully just forgive you for that, which is cool. Like, we all make mistakes, but so unapologetic for it and making excuses, that can’t run – and then you showed us. He showed his true character.
“He was quiet when I was beating him up. You know, at least if he took that same game, I would’ve had a bit more respect for him, but clearly he’s a coward.”
To see the full interview with Basharat, check out the video above.