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Ali Abdelaziz was accused of "cheating" during Kayla Harrison recent loss to Larissa Pacheco

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Larissa Pacheco, the new PFL lightweight champion, noticed an unknown presence giving instructions as she was pulling together an effort that eventually resulted in her defeating Kayla Harrison.

Ali Abdelaziz, Harrison's manager, stood up during one of the five rounds of the fight, made his way around to the side of the cage where the fight had fallen to the ground, and he started shouting directions.

This past Friday's incident was caught on camera, and according to Pacheco, it served as a diversion as she tried to end the fight after locking on a triangle choke halfway through it. It is against the rules for team members or management personnel to shout orders in MMA. The only officials who are permitted to give guidance are the recognized cornermen.

“It was a confusing moment for me,” Pacheco explained on The MMA Hour. “It was when I had her in the triangle and I was not hearing my corner’s voice anymore because someone else was yelling. I didn’t know what exactly was happening.

“I know that [my manager] Alex [Davis] is always there with me and he’s there to keep these problems from happening. It’s a big organization. I don’t think things like that should happen.”

After learning that Abdelaziz was delivering instructions despite not being one of Harrison's authorized instructors that evening, Alex Davis, a competent manager who was also in Pacheco's corner throughout the fight, gave his opinion on the matter.

"So, what happened there was the manager came to the neutral side and started giving instructions. There’s two problems with that. One, you’re giving her [Kayla Harrison] instructions. It’s a third corner. Second, Pacheco could not hear her corner because you had someone yelling nearby and he was getting right up near the cage. He walks up blatantly and starts giving instructions from there."

Finally, he alerted a commissioner from the New York State Athletic Commission, who went to face Abdelaziz while he was yelling at Harrison in the cage.

"Then I got up and told him and said, 'Get back to your corner.' Then he tells me, "Go f**k yourself." I went to get the official, the official went up to him, he brushed the official off, then I went and got the commissioner. All during the fight and I’m in [Pacheco’s] corner."

Davis praised the New York athletic commission for responding quickly and putting a halt to Abdelaziz's command shouting from the neutral corner. Davis revealed that Abdelaziz later apologized to the head coach of the Brazilian combatant after the battle ended and Pacheco had won by unanimous decision, but he didn't say anything else to him or his fighter.

“He apologized to [her coach]. He did not apologize to me,” Davis said. “He didn’t say anything to [Larissa]. I’ve seen him do it so many times that I just want it to stop.”


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