The presence of Ramzan Kadyrov in the front sequence of a UFC show foreground a disturbing is connected with 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 white t-shirt with a matching casing, the notorious Chechen strongman was surrounded by three of his most loyal collaborators– one of whom has been accused of torture and another of scheming an homicide– as he made his style to the front sequence of the 35,000 -capacity arena. Sat just a few feet away from the enclosure, Kadyrov and his cronies watched the evening’s engages in a totally new determine. Though used to attending mixed 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+ beings within Chechnya developing in torture and summary executions – his spirit in the front row 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 expectation from Dagestan who represents Kadyrov through the dictator’s crusade team, Akhmat MMA. That night, Ankalaev defeated 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 contend association consists of an MMA promotion and various exercise facilities throughout Chechnya and various other post-Soviet positions. The push society is sponsored by Kadyrov himself through his government’s budget and abides the refer of Kadyrov’s father, Akhmad Kadyrov. Fighters who are signed to the fight club’s official roster are paid monthly stipends that envelop medical expenditures, develop costs, and expedition costs. Depending on the level of success achieved, fighters are also gifted with expensive cars and other ostentatious goods.

The Akhmat MMA crusaded golf-club is performed by Abuzayed Vismuradov, a colonel to be one of the most powerful humankinds in Chechnya. Known by his nom de guerre’ Patriot ‘, Vismuradov once engaged in the Chechen campaigns 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 battle fraternity suggests that the Akhmat fight club is likely an extension of Kadyrov’s own government.

Through Kadyrov’s patronage and reinforce, the Akhmat fight club has risen to become one of the largest MMA training facilities and publicities within the Russian Federation. The push organization has signed various conspicuous fighters from other MMA organizations and has placed its promotional might and natural 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 fighters remain under contract with the UFC, despite the undeniable link between them and Kadyrov, while Edilov- who reportedly threatened an HBO journalist in Chechnya– was reportedly exhausted from his UFC contract in August 2018.

Other UFC fights have established relationships with Kadyrov. For instance, in 2015 former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum signed a” lucrative” batch to become an ambassador for Kadyrov’s Akhmat MMA engaged guild. He, extremely, was gifted an expensive auto for his services to the authoritarian, though has since deleted the video of the car from social media.

Kadyrov’s photo-op with Mohamed Salah during the 2018 World Cup was condemned by Amnesty International as” pure sportswashing “. Photograph: Karim Jaafar/ AFP/ Getty Images

Like many strongmen before him, Kadyrov expends plays to deepen his sect of personality and bolster his reputation as a gracious governor who enjoys athletics. Following the end of the Second Chechen War in 2000, the Kremlin reached an agreement with Chechnya that held the republic increased financing support and resources in exchange for its ended allegiance to the Russian Federation. When Kadyrov rose to supremacy seven years later, he took reign of a semi-autonomous republic ripe for translation into his own personal fiefdom. As an expression of the results of Chechnya’s deal with the Kremlin, as well as Russian president Vladimir Putin’s continued support, Kadyrov has regulated over his people with an iron fist. He has also been able to use sports like MMA and soccer to further cement his reign.

For example, during the 2018 World Cup, which took place in various cities across Russia, Kadyrov hosted the Egyptian national team and posed with superstar striker Mohamed Salah in front of a large audience at the Akhmat stadium. While Kadyrov witnessed the photo-op as a chance to rub shoulders with arguably the most popular Muslim athlete in the world, the information was criticised by Amnesty International as” pure sportswashing “.

This was not the first time that Kadyrov paraded around with luminaries and notable players. The strongman hosted the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Hillary Swank, Ronaldinho and innumerable UFC boxers such as former champions Frankie Edgar, Frank Mir, Chris Weidman, Alexander Gustafsson and current UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov. By accompanying with famous luminaries and soldiers, Kadyrov is able to enhance his personal persona as the incarnation of Chechen models and manlines. This use of soft superpower helps maintain his stranglehold over Chechnya and disconcert from the crimes committed by his regime.

While the UFC is aware of the polemic smothering the Chechen dictator and the UFC boxers who represent him, the publicity has chosen to remain silent regarding this potential public relations nightmare. As of the time of reporting, the UFC has not responded to the Guardian’s is asking for mention. It should also be noted that the only era that the UFC publicly addressed the concern that some of their fighters were spousing with a inhuman tyrant was in 2015, soon after Werdum admitted his capacity as an ambassador for the Akhmat MMA contended club.

” It is important to note that UFC fighters operate as independent business partners , not employees, and that subject to their contractual commitments to UFC they are free to conduct business and to participate in activities as they opt ,” the UFC said in a statement to Boast on Earth.” We do expect, however, all boxers to be bearing in mind the fact that their actions manifest well on themselves, the boast and the UFC make-up .”

According to a source close to the event, Kadyrov and his suite entered the arena with valid tickets. Nonetheless, while the resources went on to add that the advertising undertook included security measures to ensure the safety of those present in the arena, the UFC’s continued silence on their indirect association to Kadyrov is troubling.


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