“If you have the balls I’ll fight you” – Pro-Palestine ex-UFC fighter gets threatened by Israeli MMA fighter by getting name written on rocket missile

Explore the MMA community's involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as fighters like Jake Shields and Haim Gozali clash, reflecting the broader trend of political expression in the sport.


“If you have the balls I’ll fight you” – Pro-Palestine ex-UFC fighter gets threatened by Israeli MMA fighter by getting name written on rocket missile

Jake Shields beefs with Haim Gozali (Image via: IMAGO, X/Haim Gozali)

The recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict caused many MMA fighters to pick sides. Many in the UFC have publicly voiced their opinion about the matter. Belal Muhammad is at the forefront of the Palestinian cause. One unlikely ex-UFC fighter supporting Palestine is Jake Shields. Shields posted a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter, criticizing the Israeli Defence Forces.

Shields’ activities on social media found an enemy in former Bellator fighter Haim Gozali. Gozali became infamous recently after posting pictures of missiles with the names of UFC fighters inscribed on them. Khabib Nurmagomedov, Belal Muhammad, Islam Makhachev, and Khamzat Chimaev were the names of the missiles. Now, Gozali posted a similar picture with the name of Jake Shields on the missile. Shields responded with a tweet of his own. This is what he tweeted:

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Cowardly Israeli fighter making threats against my life@Haimgozali When I saw him at the gym he wouldn’t train with me but I watched a 13 year old kid submit him If you have the balls I’ll fight you anywhere anytime but I know you will make excuses
Jake Shields via X.

Gozali’s act of writing Shields’ name on a rocket missile sparked serious concerns within the MMA community. The incident reflected a growing trend in MMA, where athletes openly expressed their political beliefs. Nevertheless, the threat against Shields by Gozali represents a troubling escalation of political tensions within the MMA community.

Shields received pushback from the Jewish Community recently after his seminar with Nate Diaz was canceled in New York. However, he found a venue after a series of cancellations. Shields is friends with both Nate and Nick Diaz and was part of the infamous Nashville brawl at Strikeforce: Nashville.

Jake Shields receives respectfully Instagram message from Israeli MMA fighter

In the midst of his support for Palestine in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jake Shields found an unlikely respectful message. It was from an Israeli-MMA fighter, Rafael Aronov. Aronov sports of 5-4 record in MMA and is at present on a 3-fight win streak.

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Rafael Aronov supports Jake Shields
Rafael Aronov supports Jake Shields (Image via: Instagram/Haim Gozali)

Shields shared the interaction he had with Aronov on his X account. It was a screenshot of the interaction they had on Instagram. This is what he posted on X.

Amongst all the death threats i get I just got a respectful message from an Israeli fighter. It’s important we never let the actions of some turn us against an entire People.

In the conversation, Aronov clarified that he had nothing against the Palestinians in Gaza to which Shields replied that he didn’t have any personal beef either. Aronov concluded the conversation by praising the fighting prowess of Shields.

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