Morocco’s Missing King and The Cage Fighters

In 2018, Lady Gaga’s producer RedOne introduced MMA fighter and former convict Abu Azaitar to the royal entourage of Morocco. Since then, king Mohammed VI has disappeared from public life and the three Azaitar brothers became all-powerful.

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In this episode we discuss King Mohammed’s childhood and relationship with his father Hassan II, his marriage to Princess Lalla Salma the computer engineer, and his fascination with the cage fighters. If you like our content, please become a patron to get all our episodes ad-free.

Abu, Ottman and Omar Azaitar are three German brothers who grew to be very influential in Rabat, Morocco’s capital. It is rumored that King Mohammed VI is entirely under their “spell”. Their parents were born in Morocco. The brothers have a background in mixed martial arts, fought and won in the UFC, and they were good fighters: two of the brothers have been dubbed as “the brutal twins.” 1

Abu Azaitar has an impressive rap sheet: his German criminal record lists: “Theft, extortion, fraud, physical violence, criminal conspiracy, robberies and recidivism, computer fraud, driving without a license, bodily harm causing permanent disability, assault and battery, drug trafficking, forgery and resistance to law enforcement.” He once doused a man in gasoline and stole his Ferrari. While at a Christmas market, he also punched an ex-girlfriend and punctured her eardrum.

Since 2018, the Azaitars have monopolized the king at a moment in history when after the 2001 Arab spring, the pandemic and the Panama Papers scandal, Moroccan society is boiling and the makhzien (government and security apparatus) led by Hammouchi are not happy with the MMA fighters’ influence over their king.

1. Nicolas Pelham The mystery of Morocco’s missing king The Economist, April 2023 

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