Other than the debate over whether Simone Biles should sacrifice her mental health to compete, there has been a marked lack of drama at the Tokyo Olympics. That changed when a temper tantrum that should have been ignored, briefly took the spotlight on Sunday.
Super heavyweight boxers Frazer Clarke (British) and Mourad Aliev (French) took to the ring in a quarterfinal. The opponents engaged in quite a hug fest during their two rounds and Aliev’s aggressive head jabs seemed to make contact several times. Though the referee cannot be heard, it appears that Aliev was warned about headbutts, which he denies. Near the end, when a headbutt that appeared intentional followed, Clarke was left bleeding the referee paused the match. Seconds later it was announced that Aliev was disqualified with only four seconds left in the round.
Aliev reacted with fury, exclaiming “No, no,” in a tone that exuded a certainty that he was right and no one else’s opinion mattered. Clarke bowed happily, patting his stomach and ignoring Aliev. However, much like Alex Forrest, Aliev would not be ignored. He declared, “Everyone knows I won” and then set up camp right outside the ropes of the ring. Since the venue was mostly empty, it’s not clear why Aliev thought “everyone” believed he won.
Aliev sat ringside, above the steps and refused to move. The French team officials seemed to be in accord with their boxer. They brought him water and looked in the mood to commiserate rather than dissuade. What I found fascinating about this ploy was its insanity. Was Aliev under the impression that if he pouted long enough, the boxing officials would change their minds? What did he hope to accomplish? I was actually disappointed when boxing officials came to speak with him. I’d hope they would not indulge the histrionics with the slightest notice. Even those who initially thought disqualification was a harsh penalty, must surely have changed their mind after his childish stunt.
Through an interpreter Aliev declared that he’d worked his whole life towards this fight and the decision was sabotage. In that moment he very much reminded me of Donald Trump. If Trump had been French. Or a fighter.
According to three of the five judges’ scorecards, Aliev won the first round, but if he was actually prevailing that was even more reason not to break the rules when it got down to the wire.
For his part, Clarke said he thought his win was the right call, but stopped short of calling Aliev’s headbutt intentional. He said he told Aliev to “calm down,” advice which I’m sure worked wonders. Now that it’s over, I hope there’s a support group that Aliev can join. Tonya Harding must have the number. Aliev’s impotent sit down proved once again that you can’t win by whining. DQ for excessive use of the head, by a man that seems to have lost his.