The presence of Ramzan Kadyrov in the front row of a UFC show highlights a troubling link between the Chechen strongman and the MMA promotion
On Saturday 15 September, Ramzan Kadyrov strolled into Moscow’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium to watch the evening’s fightings. Dressed in beige jeans and a lily-white t-shirt with a according casing, the notorious Chechen strongman was surrounded by three of his most loyal henchmen– one of whom has been accused of torture and another of scheming an assassination– as he made his course to the front row of the 35,000 -capacity arena. Set just a few feet away from the enclosure, Kadyrov and his cronies watched the evening’s pushes in an entirely new settle. Though used to attending motley martial art affairs 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 most recent of which includes a deadly crackdown on LGBTQ+ people within Chechnya ensuing in torture and summary executions – his existence in the front sequence of a UFC event highlightings a concerning link between the oppressor 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 promise from Dagestan who represents Kadyrov through the dictator’s fight guild, Akhmat MMA. That night, Ankalaev demolished Marcin Prachnio by head-kick knockout in the opening round. During his post-fight interview 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 oppose club consists of an MMA promotion and several exercise facilities throughout Chechnya and various other post-Soviet territories. The oppose golf-club is sponsored by Kadyrov himself through his government’s budget and abides the call of Kadyrov’s father, Akhmad Kadyrov. Fighters who are signed to the fight club’s official roster are paid monthly stipends that covering medical expenses, education expenses, and trip fees. Depending on high levels of success achieved, fighters are also gifted with expensive gondolas and other gaudy goods.
The Akhmat MMA contended organization is performed by Abuzayed Vismuradov, a colonel considered to be one of the most powerful people in Chechnya. Known by his nom de guerre’ Patriot ‘, Vismuradov once pushed in the Chechen crusades against Russia alongside Kadyrov himself, before being promoted 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 security illustrations in charge of his MMA promotion and crusade sorority suggests that the Akhmat fight club is likely an extension of Kadyrov’s own government.
Through Kadyrov’s patronage and backing, the Akhmat fight club has risen to become one of the largest MMA training facilities and advertisings within the Russian Federation. The combat squad has signed several noticeable boxers from other MMA organizations and has situated its promotional might and natural resources behind them. Five of these pushes have moved on to sign with the UFC: Magomed Bibulatov, Abdul-Kerim Edilov, Ruslan Magomedov, Said Nurmagomedov, and Magomed Ankalaev. Four of those fighters remain under contract with the UFC, despite the undeniable link between them and Kadyrov, while Edilov- who reportedly warned an HBO journalist in Chechnya– was reportedly released from his UFC contract in August 2018.
Other UFC combats have established relationships with Kadyrov. For speciman, in 2015 former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum signed a” lucrative” batch to become an ambassador for Kadyrov’s Akhmat MMA campaigned club. He, very, was gifted an expensive gondola for his services to the dictator, though has now been deleted the video of the car from social media.
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