The presence of Ramzan Kadyrov in the front row of a UFC show spotlights a troubling link between the Chechen strongman and the MMA promotion
On Saturday 15 September, Ramzan Kadyrov marched into Moscow’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium to watch the evening’s opposes. Garmented in beige jeans and a lily-white t-shirt with a parallelling casing, the notorious Chechen strongman was surrounded by three of his most loyal cronies– one of whom has been accused of torture and another of scheming an homicide– as he made his lane to the front row of the 35,000 -capacity arena. Accommodated just a few feet away from the cage, Kadyrov and his cronies watched the evening’s fightings in an entirely new adjust. Though used to attending mixed martial art contests 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+ beings within Chechnya developing in torture and summary executions – his existence in the front row of a UFC event highlights a concerning is connected with 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 potential from Dagestan who represents Kadyrov through the dictator’s combat society, 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 combat organization consists of an MMA promotion and several train facilities throughout Chechnya and numerous other post-Soviet states. The campaign club organised by Kadyrov himself through his government’s budget and abides the epithet of Kadyrov’s father, Akhmad Kadyrov. Soldiers who are signed to the fight club’s official roster are paid monthly stipends that cover-up medical expenditures, develop expenditures, and expedition costs. Depending on the level of success reached, soldiers are also gifted with expensive vehicles and other pompous goods.
The Akhmat MMA engaged squad is carried out by Abuzayed Vismuradov, a colonel think that one of the most powerful mortals in Chechnya. Known by his nom de guerre’ Patriot ‘, Vismuradov formerly engaged in the Chechen crusades against Russia alongside Kadyrov himself, before being heightened 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 insurance digits in charge of his MMA promotion and combat fraternity suggests that the Akhmat fight club is likely an extension of Kadyrov’s own government.
Through Kadyrov’s patronage and carry, the Akhmat fight club has risen to become one of the largest MMA training facilities and promotions within the Russian Federation. The battle organization has signed several conspicuous boxers from other MMA organizations and has situated its promotional might and resources behind them. Five of these opposes 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 warned an HBO journalist in Chechnya– was reportedly exhausted from his UFC contract in August 2018.
Other UFC fights have established relationships with Kadyrov. For sample, in 2015 former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum signed a” lucrative” cope to become an ambassador for Kadyrov’s Akhmat MMA fight organization. He, too, was gifted an expensive gondola for his services to the authoritarian, though has since deleted the video of the car from social media.