Tarek Suleiman (9-7-0, 1 NC) is the only professional fighter fighting out of Syria. He is set to make his return at UAE Warriors 13 hosted in Dubai on 25 September. Suleiman had represented Syria all over the world for every major MMA promotion in the Middle East. He is the first MMA Fighter from Syria to be crowned a champion.
Born to a Lebanese mother and Syrian father, Suleiman is the oldest of three siblings. His parents and sister are still in Syria, while his brother is studying for a Ph.D. in India. He was in his final year of university when the war broke out. Suleiman has used the sport to draw global attention towards the humanitarian crisis in his homeland. He is also one of the pioneers when it comes to MMA in the Arab world.
The upcoming fight at the UAE Warriors 13 is crucial for him in the wake of recent events. The fighter went through a heart wrenching personal tragedy ahead of his fight. In the recent tragedy at Beirut, Suleiman lost his cousin who was his constant source of motivation. Suleiman would be dedicating his fight to his cousin who was his biggest supporter throughout his career.
I just lost my cousin in Beirut’s explosion. He was more of a twin brother for me than a cousin. I grew up with him. My first word as a baby was his name. I became the man I am today because of him.
He was my first fan, the first person in my family to tell me to never stop. I was not supposed to be fighting on this card but I asked the promotion, and I am thankful they have allowed me to honour the name of Aiman Suleiman. Life won’t be the same without him. I will see him again at some point, but for now I want to honour his name.Tarek Suleiman
He will make his return to the UAE Warriors to avenge the loss against Juscelino Ferreira in his previous fight. Previously he had two major wins in the promotion. He stopped UFC veteran, Oli Thompson in the second round of the light heavyweight title fight in May 2019 and scored a similar victory over Steven Kennedy of Australia in November. At UAE Warriors 13 he will face Piotr Walawski from Poland.
Suleiman had overcome challenges in his everyday life alongside his MMA career partially due to his nationality. Suleiman has competed in nations including Russia and Japan. However, he had been denied visas and fights in numerous occassions due to his Syrian nationality. Also, the ongoing crisis has affected traveling when it comes to competing and training.
I think UAE Warriors is becoming the platform for the talent in the region to grow and get to the next level. The promotion is strongly focused in UAE and especially in Abu Dhabi which is seen as the safest bubble in the world to host sporting events. So it’s safe to say it is the capital of MMA at the moment. This ecosystem is making UAE Warriors the most relevant promotion for the region. This upcoming event will assemble fighters from 18 nations to compete in Dubai. So actions speak louder than words.Tarek Suleiman
UAE Warriors 13, Dubai, 25th September
- Chi Lewis-Parry 🇬🇧 (c) vs. Fábio Maldonado 🇧🇷 (For Heavyweight Title)
- Abdulla Al Bousheiri 🇰🇼 vs. Dean Barry 🇮🇪 (Welterweight)
- Agshin Babaev 🇦🇿 vs. Gi Bum Moon 🇰🇷 (Featherweight)
- Piotr Walawski 🇵🇱 vs. Tarek Suleiman 🇸🇾 (Middleweight)
- Christina Stelliou 🇬🇷 vs. Casey O’Neill 🏴 (Flyweight)
- Hashem Arkhagha 🇯🇴 vs. Yuri Fraga 🇧🇷 (Middleweight)
- Oli Thompson 🏴 vs. Chris Barnett 🇺🇸 (Heavyweight)
- Juares Dea 🇨🇲 vs. Xavier Alaoui 🇨🇦 (Featherweight)
- Kyung Pyo Kim 🇰🇷 vs. Islam Mamedov 🇷🇺 (Lightweight)
- Omar Hussein 🇵🇸 vs. Sasha Palatnikov 🇭🇰 (Middleweight)
- Topnoi Tigermuaythai 🇹🇭 vs. Isaac Pimentel 🇧🇷 (Bantamweight)