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This German MMA Fighter Says He Was Mistaken for a Refugee and Mistreated by Paramedics

Dib Akil says that after he collapsed from extreme pain after a training session, paramedics were rude to him and his family and made racist remarks they thought he couldn't understand.

Dib at the hospital on Monday. Photo courtesy of Dib Akil

After German MMA fighter Dib Akil returned home from his training session on Monday night, he suddenly found himself in such severe pain that his family called the paramedics. But when they arrived, they were extremely rude to him and his family—which according to Akil was due to the fact that he has foreign roots.

That same night, he angrily took to Facebook to complain about the treatment he received from doctors and nurses at the hospital in the town of Bad Oeynhausen, where he lives. I called Akil to get the full story.


VICE: Hi, Dib. Are you feeling better now?
Dib Akil: Yes, I have two more doctor's appointments, and then I'll have to see how it goes.

Why did call the paramedics in the first place?
I returned home from my training session on Monday, and suddenly, I was in such pain that it made me scream. Then I felt dizzy and nauseous and keeled over.

What happened then?
The paramedics got to my house, and my mother was trying to explain to them what kind of painkillers I'd taken. But she doesn't speak perfect German, so they just went, "Yeah, yeah lady, whatever." They also pretty much ignored me—nobody really tried to speak to me, to find out how I was feeling. I was born in Germany by the way. I am a German citizen.

How did it go on from there?
They did ask about the pain once we got to the emergency ward, but it was already so bad that I couldn't respond anymore. So I guess they must have thought that I was an asylum seeker and did not speak German. And then they started talking shit, thinking I didn't understand them. My mother and my brothers had followed the ambulance to the hospital, which is normal—it's what families do. But once she saw them the nurse went, "Whoa, who are you?" When they said they were with Mr. Akil, she said, "Poor Germany." I didn't say anything. Next she said, "That's the last thing Germany needs, for them to be chauffeured around on top of every other problem they cause!"


What did you do when you heard that?
I screamed with rage. My brother came in, and I said, "Come, let's get out of here. I'm not staying here unless I completely lose control of my body." That seemed to scare the hospital staff, who said that I misunderstood, and the comments were not directed at me. But there was nothing to be discussed for me, so I left feeling pretty angry.

You're actually a well-known martial artist, right?
I'm definitely well-known in the local martial arts scene—also because I often visit schools and poor children. I'm a heavyweight MMA fighter in Germany, and I also fight for the Lebanese national team.

Did you expect to be treated like that?
Never. I mean, I didn't think that you could get that kind of treatment from people who've sworn to treat anyone without bias. Many Germans who work in hospitals now write to me, telling me that they've also heard their own co-workers talk shit about immigrants.

How do you feel about the whole thing?
I'm very angry. That is the kind of racism that lives on, inside people's hearts. I'm German; I was born here. I mean, I'm talking about what happened at that specific hospital now and not all of Germany. But I think everyone needs to have a conversation about this. My main point is, what if this had happened to someone who actually doesn't speak German? It's incredible, and it's an injustice.

VICE Germany asked Mühlenkreiskliniken—the large regional hospital corporation that runs the hospital in Bad Oeynhausen—for comment. A spokesperson replied that the hopsital had not heard about this incident but would investigate and make a public statement.