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From Foes to Friends: Love for Palestine Draws These Martial Arts Fighters Closer

Though they have been mixed martial arts fierce rivals for years, Belal Muhammad and Khamzat Chimaev’s shared love for Palestine has transformed their relationship to become close friends.

Muhammad is a Palestinian-American Muslim who has always been vocal in his support for the nation.

After the eruption of the October 7 Israeli war on Gaza, Chimaev, and other influential figures in the MMA community, publicly backed Palestine, fostering the bond that grew into friendship with Muhammad, Sports Keeda reported.

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“For me, it was obviously huge that he was posting about Palestine. That’s my brother now,” Muhammad said in a recent interview with MMA Junkie.

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“Like, if you’re supporting my people, we’re one. It’s all about being a Muslim and when one Muslim’s in pain, one Muslim’s hurting, you should be feeling the same pain, feeling the same hurt. I feel like we’ve got connected off of that.”

Before UFC 294 in October, Muhammad and Chimaev posted pictures on Instagram together, holding a Palestinian flag.

At least 18,400 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7, 70% of whom are women and children.

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