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 walked into Moscow’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium to watch the evening’s battles. Garmented 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 henchmen– one of whom has been accused of torture and another of storying an assassination– 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 chums watched the evening’s fightings in a totally new set. Though used to attending mixed martial arts occasions 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 latest of which includes a deadly crackdown on LGBTQ+ parties within Chechnya ensuing in torture and summary executions – his existence in the front sequence of a UFC event spotlights a concerning is connected with 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 promise from Dagestan who represents Kadyrov through the dictator’s oppose team, 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 push association consists of an MMA promotion and various grooming facilities throughout Chechnya and many other post-Soviet countries. The fight club is sponsored by Kadyrov himself through his government’s budget and stands the identify of Kadyrov’s father, Akhmad Kadyrov. Boxers who are signed to the fight club’s official listing are paid monthly allowances that envelop medical expenditures, learn payments, and pas costs. Depending on the level of success achieved, fighters are also gifted with expensive cars and other ostentatious goods.
The Akhmat MMA campaigned golf-club is operated by Abuzayed Vismuradov, a colonel considered to be one of the stronger souls in Chechnya. Known by his nom de guerre’ Patriot ‘, Vismuradov once contended 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 protection representations in charge of his MMA promotion and fighting golf-club is demonstrated that the Akhmat fight club is likely an extension of Kadyrov’s own government.
Through Kadyrov’s patronage and supporting, the Akhmat fight club has risen to become one of the largest MMA training facilities and publicities within the Russian Federation. The crusade sorority has signed various noticeable fighters from other MMA organizations and has targeted its promotional might and natural resources behind them. Five of these fightings 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 contends have established relationships with Kadyrov. For pattern, in 2015 former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum signed a” lucrative” cope to become an ambassador for Kadyrov’s Akhmat MMA opposed sorority. He, too, was gifted an expensive car for his services to the dictator, though has now been deleted the video of the car from social media.