The presence of Ramzan Kadyrov in the front row of a UFC show highlights a disturbing 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 contends. Dressed in beige jeans and a lily-white t-shirt with a matching 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 mode to the front row of the 35,000 -capacity arena. Accommodated just a few feet away from the cage, Kadyrov and his friends watched the evening’s crusades in a totally new place. Though used to attending mixed martial art happens 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+ parties within Chechnya resulting in torture and summary executions – his presence in the front sequence of a UFC event spotlights a concerning link between the authoritarian 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 engage club, 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 slogan “Akhmat Sila”( Akhmat Power ).
Founded in 2015, the Akhmat MMA engage golf-club consists of an MMA promotion and several qualify facilities throughout Chechnya and various other post-Soviet regimes. The battle guild is sponsored by Kadyrov himself through his government’s budget and endures the name of Kadyrov’s father, Akhmad Kadyrov. Boxers who are signed to the fight club’s official listing are paid monthly stipends that report medical expenses, improve expenses, and circulate fees. Depending on high levels of success achieved, boxers are also gifted with expensive cars and other extravagant goods.
The Akhmat MMA contended golf-club is operated by Abuzayed Vismuradov, a colonel considered to be one of the most powerful souls in Chechnya. Known by his nom de guerre’ Patriot ‘, Vismuradov formerly opposed in the Chechen struggles 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 security illustrations in charge of his MMA promotion and contend society suggests that the Akhmat fight club is likely an extension of Kadyrov’s own government.
Through Kadyrov’s patronage and assistance, the Akhmat fight club has risen to become one of the largest MMA training facilities and promotions within the Russian Federation. The combat society has signed several conspicuous fighters from other MMA organizations and has situated its promotional might and natural resources behind them. Five of these battles have moved on to sign with the UFC: Magomed Bibulatov, Abdul-Kerim Edilov, Ruslan Magomedov, Said Nurmagomedov, and Magomed Ankalaev. Four of those boxers remain under contract with the UFC, despite the undeniable link between them and Kadyrov, while Edilov- who reportedly menaced an HBO journalist in Chechnya– was reportedly liberated from his UFC contract in August 2018.
Other UFC opposes have established relationships with Kadyrov. For speciman, in 2015 former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum signed a” lucrative” slew to become an ambassador for Kadyrov’s Akhmat MMA engaged golf-club. He, more, was gifted an expensive automobile for his services to the despot, though has now been deleted the video of the car from social media.