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Badr Hari to be stripped of K-1 title, suspended indefinitely?

Badr Hari to be stripped of K-1 heavyweight title, suspended indefinitely ?

Written by Lyman Hoyt   |   Monday, December 08 2008

The referee tries to restrain Badr Hari as he stomps Remy Bonjasky in their championship match of K-1's World GP 2008.  Hari's actions during and after the bout shocked fight fans worldwide.

"When you won that title you should know now that you are representing a whole country or nation with your actions and you are now in a glass house or under a microscope and you better be ready to make your people proud."
--Alexis Arguello

FEG isn't messing around with their response to Badr Hari's illegal strikes and subsequent unsportsmanlike behavior in his DQ loss to Remy Bonjasky in the finals of the K-1 World GP 2000.  Numerous Japanese media sources are reporting that FEG has stripped Hari of the K-1 heavyweight title and will suspend him "indefinitely". 

Japanese sports newspapers Nikkan Sports and Sports Nippon, among others, have revealed that the punishment was decided upon late Saturday night Tokyo time.  The decision to suspend Hari and strip him of the title was made in a consultation between Fight Entertainment Group President Sadaharu Tanikawa and K-1 Rules Director Nobuaki Kakuda.  Further punishment is also being considered, including a formal reprimand of the Moroccan fighter. 

Hari has been known for having a "bad boy" reputation, but obviously nothing he's done in the past comes close to the severity of his most recent K-1 malfeasance.  In 2006, Hari got into a name calling exchange with Peter Graham at the pre-event press conference for a K-1 event in New Zealand and afterwards the two men and their entourage engaged in a brief scuffle.  Graham got the best of Hari in their fight, breaking his jaw several places with his "Rolling Thunder" somersault heel kick finisher. 

At K-1 World GP 2006, Hari was knocked down by Ruslan Karaev and after failing to stand or assume a fighting posture the referee awarded the match to the Russian.  Hari's entourage went ballistic and refused to leave the ring until persuaded to do so by K-1 officials.  This is almost identical to their reaction after Hari was DQ'd in the World GP 2008 Final, though this time they ignored requests of K-1 officials to leave and were finally convinced to act like gentleman by fellow Mike's Gym competitor Melvin Manhoef.

Hari's behavior in the final match of the K-1 World GP 2008 in Yokohama, however, transcended being a mere "bad boy" and entered the realm of punk-like.  Hari looked to be in top form as he steamrollered K-1 legend Peter Aerts in the quarterfinal round, then defeated a game Errol Zimmerman in the semi-final match in a "fight of the year" candidate bout that saw both men hit the canvas in the 2nd round.  In the tournament final, he was clearly frustrated by Bonjasky's excellent defensive techniques though began to make some progress with his jab.  That was, at least, until Bonjasky floored Hari with a short left hand near the end of the first round.  With open scoring in effect, both fighters knew heading into the second that Bonjasky was up 10-8 on all three scorecards.

Hari clearly knew that he had to come out aggressively in the 2nd round and did just that in the opening seconds of the frame scoring with several solid punch/kick combinations.  About 45 seconds in, however, Hari simultaneously threw a punch as Bonjasky was trying to unload one of the leg kicks that served him so well in their first meeting (August 2007).  Bonjasky lost his balance, and Hari either lost his as well or intentionally tried to take his opponent to the mat.  At this point, Hari went nuts unleashing several punches to a grounded Bonjasky which are illegal in K-1.  He followed this up with a downward foot stomp before being restrained by the referee. 

The official went to check on Bonjasky, who was clearly dazed at this point with very glassy eyes.  Hari, meanwhile, stood in the neutral corner alternately sneering and yelling taunts at the Dutch fighter including calling him a "sissy" as he implored him to get up and fight.   Bonjasky was helped to a stool in his corner and given five minutes to recover from the foul while Hari was issued a "yellow card". 

As the attending physicians administered to Bonjasky, Hari continued to sneer and sulk.  At one point he got into a verbal exchange with Bonjasky's trainer, Ivan Hippolyte, forcing the referee to shepherd him back to the neutral corner.  Bonjasky reportedly indicated to the attending medical staff that he was "seeing double" and after a brief examination ruled that he could not continue.  With a fair amount of showmanship, the ref gave Hari a brief lecture in Japanese about sportsmanship before brandishing a "red card" and disqualifying him.  Hari and his entourage were slow to leave the ring as K-1 officials tried to get the awards ceremony underway, but eventually Melvin Manhoef talked them out of the ring and back to the locker room.

Things were already going badly for Hari, and he made them worse with his post event comments to the media.  Described by FEG President Takikawa as "unapologetic and defiant", Hari's comments suggested that Bonjasky's corner was "yelling at him to stay down" and that he was "faking" his eye injury for fear of having to face another striking onslaught.  The most inflammatory comment was the observation that while "Bonjasky won the tournament, it was for being the ‘best actor' and not the ‘best fighter'".

FEG/K-1 hasn't made a public statement or confirmation on the penalty as of yet, but is expected to do so early this week.  At that time, they may announce further penalties along with conditions for getting his "indefinite" suspension lifted.  Alternately, they could just leave him swinging and put the onus on Hari to apply for reinstatement down the line.  FEG will also have to make some arrangement for filling the heavyweight championship vacancy.

Hari's intentional foul and subsequent horrible behavior was bad enough, but he made the unfortunate decision to go ballistic on K-1's biggest event of the year.  The fact that they're trying to grow the promotion internationally and were broadcasting the World GP Final live to the US didn't help matters.  He dug his hole deeper by failing to apologize to Bonjasky, K-1, the fans, or anyone for that matter.  To the contrary, he fanned the flames of the controversy after the fact by questioning the validity of his opponent's injury and "fighting spirit". 

Badr Hari is only 24 years old, so he's got plenty of time to redeem himself in the eyes of his promotion and fight fans if he chooses to do so.  He's also an amazing talent, which makes his decision to behave in a manner so unfitting for a champion so much more of a shame.  Professional prizefighters may work harder than any athletes on the planet, but most realize that participation in the sport is not a "right" but a privilege.  True champions understand that their sport, be it boxing, MMA or kickboxing, owes them nothing.  At the same time, however, they have a duty to protect the honor and dignity of fight sports and the legacy of how a champion behaves both in and out of the ring.  This legacy has been shaped by champions such as Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Royce Gracie, Fedor Emelianenko, Semmy Schilt, Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost and countless others.  To be called champion is not only an honor and a monumental accomplishment, but an obligation to compete and conduct oneself in a manner befitting of the title and worthy of the champions who came before and built the legacy of greatness.

Until Hari learns this, he won't be a true champion no matter how hard he hits or how many excuses he makes to rationalize his behavior.


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D-rop, Video editor (2420 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-14 at: 08:20
I agree with the last few paragraphs of this article. Well put.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the things about the penalty for Hari is all speculation, right?

I think FEG takes a long time to make a decision in this matter.
Dennis, Administrator (1174 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-14 at: 10:49
Yes it really takes to long time for a decision.

Although I don't favour Haris action, it would be bad for K-1 if he was suspended indefinitely. Would they really dare to do that?
Polakian (39 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-15 at: 03:38
They still have Hari on there k1 dynamite poster, make of that what u will...at least it looks like him from the back

It sounds like there will be a bit of pressure on FEG to suspend him if the media is speculating on this..tough decision 4 sure..although there is that old statement..thers no such thing as bad publicity

I think most ppl have agreed on this forum he has been punished enough except i want to see him fight in a qualifying tournament for the eliminations as added punishemnt
Pablo (795 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-15 at: 11:39
It's a hard matter, I've always thought he already had what he deserved, and maybe no additional punishment was necessary, but on the other had I can understand people who may be worried by the possibility that not showing enough severity this time would encourage a further relaxation in discipline for on-coming fights; so I've got a rainbow in my heart, I'm disappointed because I think this may be an excessive decision, but at the same time I can understand the reason for it and am not entirely sure that it may not be benefitial in the end. Wait and see
Chrzan_ko, Video editor (749 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-15 at: 11:56
Title should end with a question mark as these are only speculations. In case it becomes official...well sounds like a very, very harsh punishment.
Ali (322 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-15 at: 06:57
stripping his title should be enough. I think maybe the fans could get the best of both worlds if FEG makes him qualify for the next WGP. That way he is punished and the fans get to see him fight. I think that is fair enough
Cdn Mongoose (1425 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-16 at: 05:33
if you watch the replay Hari got into it with remys corner
(6 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-16 at: 05:53
Personally I think the GP loss along with a suspension is enough to get the point across on the part of FEG. Stripping his HW Title, although not TOO harsh of a punishment, is in my mind unecessary as losing the GP Finals and not being aloud to fight for up to 6 months or whatever FEG decides SHOULD be enough to show Badri Hari that this kind of disrespect wont be tolerated. A second offense, that is a different story.
Aziz (341 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-16 at: 07:07
i thnik it's enough for him. he must learn from that. by the way i'm from morrocco . i excpected more maturity from bader specially in that time. when you represent a country you should respect the rules. but he don't grow up in morrocco . we had a lot of athlete more famous than hari and more respecteful. i hope see him in the futur
Sirzake (39 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-18 at: 06:50
@zizo: It's nice to hear that you as a morocan think what he did was wrong. But as to wat u said about where he was brought you guys are amazing, when he's a champ u guys are all over youtube praising the fact he's from your country, an when d poor kid slips up you throw him to the wolves and say well he wasn't raised there meaning he isn't really one of you guys, and moraly speaking that's kind of lame.To me he's dutch fighter since he learned to fight in holland, but I respect his choice. His ethnic origin should not matter in your loyalty to him as an athlete, that's how you overcome third-world mentality! I hope I wasn't too rough.
Aziz (341 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-22 at: 02:13
@sirzake ok i just wanna tell you that you get me wrong may be i don't speak good english . so by the way i m not nationalist . i'm a big fan of fedor. for me badr is dutch and morrocan in the same time. i don't throw him in the wolves as you said. i support badr but he should be respectful that what i wanna say. i've just campare him with other morrocan athlete they don't behave like him . may be you have something against the third worl as you said by saying third worlfd word mentality . if i was wrong that represent me not the third word i don't represent the third world
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