When you find an athlete willing and able to hold a conversation that goes beyond the sport in which they compete, you listen.
Beneil Dariush is a UFC athlete. It’s what he does for a living, but there is so much more to the man. The passion he has for his faith and family — along with his stark opposition to Marxism — comes across when you take the time to speak with him.
After his last victory — a victory over Tony Ferguson — Dariush didn’t take his fifteen minutes of fame to scream and shout about his greatness. Instead, he took his time to call out to those in the world who have been impacted by the ideology Dariush is so against.
“I really wanted to talk about Marxism,” Dariush said in a wide-ranging interview with The Daily Wire. “Again, ‘Thug’ Rose mentioned it a month before and she got a lot of hate because of it. I was going to say the same thing as she said, but for some reason I didn’t. I didn’t say ‘better dead than red.’ I said, ‘I want to dedicate this fight to all the people who have been hurt by Marxism. I know there’s a lot of them.’”
In an America that is seemingly warming to the idea of socialism, Dariush is particularly against the ideology. Born in Iran, he’s seen first-hand the damage that an authoritarian government can inflict on its people. He’s also married to a woman whose family fled from communist Vietnam.
“My wife, she’s Vietnamese, her parents are from Vietnam … so they ran away from communism. Socialism, communism, it’s all one thing. It’s Marxism. So they ran away from that. And I was born in Iran. I know what happens when you make the government God. So, I don’t want to see it anywhere. Not just in sports; I don’t want to see that anywhere. Unfortunately, they’ve slowly seeped into anything.”
It’s given him an appreciation for what America provides, even as one of the two major political parties in the country warms to the idea of socialism.
“There is so much comfort, there is so much good here that we’ve lost sight of progress,” Dariush said. “We don’t know how to make progress because we don’t feel like we need too. And then all of the sudden, this godless ideology shows up promising things. A lot of these young people, they want hope. They want something to work toward, but because they were so comfortable, they couldn’t find anything. And now they come tell them, ‘We’re actually really broken, there’s a lot of problems, we have to fix these, and this is how we do it.’”
“And they jump on because they’re young and they don’t know any better. It’s what defines them.”
You’ll often find that the people who have come from difficult situations will turn to faith — regardless of the religion — in order to get them through the trying times. For Dariush, it was Christianity, even though it took time for him to find it.
“I was Christian by name. I’m Assyrian. I was born in Iran. Assyrians are predominantly Christian. We were there before Ayatollah — the Mullahs came through — and they said if you’re a small group like us, you can keep it, but you can’t share the gospel … I didn’t become a Christian until 2013-2014, and it was a process. I wrestled with God for a long time. I always wanted to do things my way … Let’s just say I learned through a lot of experience.”
“It definitely has,” Dariush said when asked if his faith has impacted his career. “Because I didn’t listen, I had some of the lowest of the lows. But in those lows, I had the closest relationship with the Lord because I was so low. I couldn’t really hear anybody else but him. It sucks going through that, but at least you hear him … I’ve noticed a lot of people seem to agree with that. It’s always when you’re in the trenches, you start to hear him better.”
As with anyone who is in the public eye and is outspoken about their faith, there will be those who don’t appreciate it. For Dariush, it’s even come from his boss.
“There’s been definitely a pushback,” Dariush said. “Early on, the UFC was pushing harder, but lately it hasn’t been that way. Dana [White] even came out in an interview saying, ‘It’s cool you love Jesus, but you don’t have to talk about it here.’ And I think he got a really hard pushback on that from a lot of people. I will say for Dana, lately he’s been pretty great.”
The entire interview with Dariush can be seen below.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.