“I chose not to respond and preferred to respond to my opponent in the arena”. This is how clear Israeli fighter Rafael Aronov was after receiving threatening messages from his opponent, Ilyas Sadykov, a known anti-Semite, for days.
Sadykov, from Kazakhstan, had sent Aronov messages with pictures of Adolf Hitler saying “I will kill you” or “I will burn you”. The fight took place in Israel and Aronov, who chose not to play his opponent’s game, prevailed in the octagon in the fight between the two.
Sadykov later claimed on social media that the judges had influenced the outcome of the fight and called for a re-fight, this time on Kazakh soil.
For his part, Aronov chose to remain focused on his sporting career, but he sent a message about what happened: “I am ready to die for the things I stand for,” he said on Instagram.