Iron Sheik supports Olivia Chow for Toronto mayor
MARYAM SHAH - Toronto Sun
|Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow showed up at a downtown Toronto sub shop Belly Busters to meet hop with the legendary Hall of Fame wrestler the Iron Sheik. Legendary Hall of Fame wrestler The Iron Sheik was in town to promote his documentary on The Sheik, which makes its world premiere at the annual documentary marathon at Hot Docs movie festival on Saturday April 26, 2014. Jack Boland/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency
TORONTO - The Iron Sheik was set on meeting Toronto’s mayor on Saturday but ended up meeting with one of Rob Ford’s biggest rivals.
The legendary WWE Hall of Famer shared a table with Chow at a downtown sandwich shop hours before the world premiere of a documentary — The Sheik — chronicling his life.
The 72-year-old former pro-wrestler, whose real name is Khosrow Vaziri, had one major complaint: that Ford apparently did not take up his lunch invite on Saturday.
“Rob Ford, you are the real jabroni because we invite you to come today (to) Belly Busters, you didn’t show up, we invite you to come see the Iron Sheik movie, you didn’t come,” the Sheik complained as cameras rolled inside the King St.-Spadina Ave. sub shop.
But Ford’s chief of staff Dan Jacobs said no invitation was received as far as he knew.
“No invitation was ever accepted,” Jacobs said. “The mayor’s had his plans set for today well before today.”
And Ford’s campaign manager and brother Doug Ford did not know what exactly the Sheik meant either.
“Maybe the Iron Sheik wanted to meet him but they have to go through the proper process,” he said.
The brothers spent the day door-knocking in Scarborough, he added.
“No Iron Sheik, no Hulk Hogan, no anyone today,” Doug Ford said.
So the Sheik threw his support behind Chow.
“God bless her, and I want all the people in Toronto to vote for Olivia Chow to become the mayor of Toronto,” he said.
Cries of ‘Sheik! Sheik!’ and ‘Chow! Chow!’ filled the small eatery. Chow seemed pleased with Vaziri’s gleaming golden belt around her waist.
The Sheik’s personal story of overcoming hardship resonated with her, she said.
“I admire his guts,” Chow said. The decision to meet him was spontaneous, co-ordinated over Twitter just hours earlier, she added.
She later tweeted that while the wrestler is “controversial, he has imp(ortant) anti-drug message.”
This is not the first time the Iron Sheik has made headlines yelling about Ford. He challenged the mayor to an arm-wrestling match in November 2013, as the crack cocaine scandal dominated headlines.
“The man eats a cheeseburger and smokes crack. What kind of role model is that for the city?” Vaziri told reporters at the time.
One of Vaziri’s managers, Page Magen, said the Sheik – who has struggled with substance abuse — simply wanted to share a meal on Saturday and “some positive thoughts” with the mayor.
“The Sheik, as mean and as entertaining a character as he is, he was trying to send the message that ‘I had a second chance, I’m going to give you a second chance,’” Magen explained.
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