The presence of Ramzan Kadyrov in the front row of a UFC show foreground a disturbing link between the Chechen strongman and the MMA promotion
On Saturday 15 September, Ramzan Kadyrov trod into Moscow’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium to watch the evening’s battles. Garmented in beige jeans and a white t-shirt with a coinciding jacket, 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 homicide– as he made his practice to the front row of the 35,000 -capacity arena. Sat just a few feet away from the cage, Kadyrov and his cronies watched the evening’s fights in an entirely new lay. Though used to attending mixed martial arts phenomena 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 arising in torture and summary executions – his proximity in the front sequence of a UFC event spotlights a concerning is connected with the despot 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 push guild, Akhmat MMA. That night, Ankalaev overcame 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 mottoes “Akhmat Sila”( Akhmat Power ).
Founded in 2015, the Akhmat MMA crusade fraternity consists of an MMA promotion and various improve facilities throughout Chechnya and numerous other post-Soviet positions. The fighting organization is sponsored by Kadyrov himself through his government’s budget and permits the call of Kadyrov’s father, Akhmad Kadyrov. Fighters who are signed to the fight club’s official roster are paid monthly stipends that cover medical expenses, educate expenses, and travelling costs. Depending on the level of success achieved, fighters are also gifted with expensive cars and other obtrusive goods.
The Akhmat MMA crusaded association is performed by Abuzayed Vismuradov, a colonel to be one of the stronger humanities in Chechnya. Known by his nom de guerre’ Patriot ‘, Vismuradov formerly engaged in the Chechen campaigns against Russia alongside Kadyrov himself, before being elevated 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 anatomies in charge of his MMA promotion and fight squad suggests that the Akhmat fight club is likely an extension of Kadyrov’s own government.
Through Kadyrov’s patronage and aid, the Akhmat fight club has risen to become one of greater MMA training facilities and publicities within the Russian Federation. The combat fraternity has signed several notable boxers from other MMA organizations and has placed its promotional might and resources behind them. Five of these fights 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 crusades have established relationships with Kadyrov. For instance, in 2015 former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum signed a” lucrative” bargain to become an ambassador for Kadyrov’s Akhmat MMA contended golf-club. He, too, was gifted an expensive gondola for his services to the dictator, though has now been deleted the video of the car from social media.