It’s hard to be a mixed martial artist in Chechnya without getting all wrapped up with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a controversial figure who was sanctioned by the US government multiple times over human rights violations.
Kadyrov is a big fan of MMA and operates the Akhmat Fight Club gym and Absolute Championship Akhmat promotion, both named after his father who was assassinated by rebels in 2004. He uses these organizations to raise his profile in the region and project an aura of power. Typical sportswashing stuff. And if you’re a Russian fighter or from the Caucasus, sooner or later Kadyrov is going to want to rub shoulders with you.
So it should be no surprise that Chechen-born Khamzat Chimaev is showing up more and more with Kadyrov as his star rises in the UFC. Recently, Kadyrov attended Chimaev’s private wedding and was one of the few people to share footage from the event. And now we have a new video of Kadyrov and his sons sparring with Chimaev.
Shockingly, they all do surprisingly well against “Borz,” who wiped out his first four UFC opponents with ease.
“The grandchildren of the First President of the Chechen Republic, Hero of Russia Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov – Adam and Eli Kadyrov met face to face with the thunderstorm of the octagon,” the video’s caption read. “Despite the fact that this is only a friendly sparring, the ‘Chechen Wolf’ exhausted his rivals in his usual manner, once again proving his skill and composure in the fighting arena.”
“Despite the formidable and eminent opponent, the guys were in no way inferior to Khamzat in skill,” the statement claimed. “As befits the fighters, they analyzed the movements and weaknesses of the opponent, after which they proceeded to counterattacks. At the end of the training, I myself could not resist the temptation to test my strength in a friendly duel with our dear brother.”
Obviously Khamzat wasn’t about to punt the heads off of Kadyrov’s kids, and when your country’s dictator asks you to spar, of course you’re going to take it easy on them. But there’s something wild about watching the footage of Ramzan take Chimaev down repeatedly, hold onto side control effortlessly, and catch “Borz” with guillotine chokes.
It’s worth noting that pushing back against Ramzan Kadyrov hasn’t turned out well for even well-connected MMA fighters in the past. After footage of Kadyrov’s kids beating up children in a cage fight went viral online, Fedor Emelianenko criticized the event. Soon afterwards, goons associated with Kadyrov reportedly assaulted Fedor’s daughter.