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Firas Zahabi is not exactly known as an MMA personality who stirs the pot.
The Montreal-based martial artist is best known as the head trainer for TriStar Gym, which has produced greats such as former UFC two-division champion Georges St-Pierre and current Bellator welterweight titleholder Rory MacDonald.
So when Zahabi has a bad word to say about someone, it’s noteworthy. And it’s clear Zahabi is no fan of Jon Fitch.
The 41-year-old Fitch will challenge MacDonald (20-5 MMA; 2-1 BMMA) for his title in the main event of Bellator 220 on April 27 in San Jose, Calif.
Fitch (31-7-1 MMA; 1-0 Bellator) has won five straight fights and is 7-2 since being cut by the UFC in 2013, and Zahabi believes this is due to one reason: He believes Fitch is cheating, even after a failed drug test prior to a WSOF fight in 2015.
“That’s why he had a resurgence,” Zahabi told DAZN. “He’s better now than he was before because of his steroids. He had a dip, and then he had a surge.”
“In my opinion, let’s be honest: He’s a cheater,” Zahabi continued. “We’re not a group of guys playing golf here. We’re not playing soccer here. We’re hitting each other; we’re not hitting baseballs. We’re hitting each other. It’s highly immoral. It’s a crime in my opinion. Truth of the matter is, he’s not as good as people think he is. He’s really just a cheater.”
Zahabi has crossed paths with Fitch before: Zahabi was with St-Pierre when the then-welterweight champion put a one-sided beating on Fitch in a title fight at UFC 87 in 2008. But because Zahabi believes Fitch isn’t on the up-and-up, he’s not a fan of him getting a crack at MacDonald’s belt.
“This is a highly objectable contest, because I know, I feel that for sure if he did it in 2015, here we are in 2019, and he has a title fight, of course he’s going to do it,” Zahabi said. “But we don’t have USADA or VADA testing in Bellator. We only have the testing of the week of the fight, which is very easy to get around. So in my opinion, Fitch is not an authentic fighter.”
Zahabi gives Fitch props as a talented wrestler, but that’s about where the TriStar trainer’s respect level for the former WSOF titleholder ends.
“This guy is a coward,” Zahabi said. “He’s a cheater. At the end of the day, he’s a true coward. In my opinion, he’s not a good fighter. He’s not a competent fighter. He really is just a guy on a lot of juice – he’s a good wrestler, I’ll give him that. But really he really is just a guy on a lot of juice. … The truth of the matter is, he can’t win without it. That’s the truth.”
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