The presence of Ramzan Kadyrov in the front sequence of a UFC show spotlights a troubling link between the Chechen strongman and the MMA promotion
On Saturday 15 September, Ramzan Kadyrov went into Moscow’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium to watch the evening’s fights. Garmented in beige jeans and a lily-white t-shirt with a pairing coat, the notorious Chechen strongman was surrounded by three of his most loyal collaborators– one of whom has been accused of torture and another of storying an homicide– as he made his path to the front row of the 35,000 -capacity arena. Sat simply a few feet away from the cage, Kadyrov and his chums watched the evening’s fights in an completely new situate. Though used to attending mixed martial arts episodes on a near-weekly basis in his native Chechnya, this was the first time that Kadyrov was present at a Ultimate Fighting Championship show.
Given Kadyrov’s well-documented human rights abuses- the latest of which includes a deadly crackdown on LGBTQ+ parties within Chechnya ensuing in torture and summary executions – his existence in the front row of a UFC event highlightings a concerning link between the dictator and the world’s largest MMA promotion.
Kadyrov’s decision to attend the UFC’s first ever show in Moscow is due to the presence of Magomed Ankhalaev, a UFC light heavyweight prospect from Dagestan who represents Kadyrov through the dictator’s contend club, Akhmat MMA. That night, Ankalaev defeated Marcin Prachnio by head-kick knockout in the opening round. During his post-fight interrogation in the octagon, Ankalaev thanked Kadyrov for his support and finished off with Kadyrov’s now-infamous slogan “Akhmat Sila”( Akhmat Power ).
Founded in 2015, the Akhmat MMA campaign society consists of an MMA promotion and several train facilities throughout Chechnya and many other post-Soviet territories. The combat club is be supported by Kadyrov himself through his government’s budget and brings the call of Kadyrov’s father, Akhmad Kadyrov. Boxers who are signed to the fight club’s official listing are paid monthly allowances that plow medical overheads, prepare rates, and wander costs. Depending on the level of success achieved, boxers are also gifted with expensive cars and other pompous goods.
The Akhmat MMA engaged guild is operated by Abuzayed Vismuradov, a colonel considered to be one of the stronger people in Chechnya. Known by his nom de guerre’ Patriot ‘, Vismuradov formerly crusaded in the Chechen conflicts against Russia alongside Kadyrov himself, before being hoisted to commander of the Chechnya’s Special Forces, the’ Terek’ Chechen SWAT unit, as well as Kadyrov’s private security detail. Kadyrov’s decision to place one of his most influential defence anatomies in charge of his MMA promotion and crusade club is demonstrated that the Akhmat fight club is likely an extension of Kadyrov’s own government.
Through Kadyrov’s patronage and reinforcement, the Akhmat fight club has risen to become one of the largest MMA training facilities and promotions within the Russian Federation. The fight fraternity has signed various noticeable soldiers from other MMA organizations and has targeted its promotional might and resources behind them. Five of these crusades have moved on to sign with the UFC: Magomed Bibulatov, Abdul-Kerim Edilov, Ruslan Magomedov, Said Nurmagomedov, and Magomed Ankalaev. Four of those soldiers remain under contract with the UFC, despite the undeniable link between them and Kadyrov, while Edilov- who reportedly peril an HBO journalist in Chechnya– was reportedly secreted from his UFC contract in August 2018.
Other UFC engages have established relationships with Kadyrov. For instance, in 2015 former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum signed a” lucrative” slew to become an ambassador for Kadyrov’s Akhmat MMA opposed organization. He, too, was gifted an expensive car for his services to the dictator, though has since deleted the video of the car from social media.
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