After a split draw at the UFC 282 main event that saw Ramzan Kadyrov’s fighter Magomed Ankalaev refuse the UFC title, the Chechen strongman called the organization and its leading figures.
In a rare English-language social media post on Sunday, Kadyrov targeted UFC President Dana White, blaming “politics” and “dirty” refereeing as the reasons Ankalaev didn’t take the vacant light-heavyweight title.
“Dana White, what happened to you?” Kadyrov wrote letters to his nearly 3 million followers on Telegram. “You were a normal, principled man, and you walked out of the ring today without a clear winner. Or did politics enter the UFC ring and require you to referee dirty? It’s a sport, Dana. Be honest.”
Kadyrov’s statement refers to the UFC 282 main event, where Ankalaev challenged Jan Blachowicz for the recently vacated light-heavyweight title.
Originally planned as the co-main event of the night, the fight was upgraded to the marquee at the UFC’s final pay-per-view event of the year, after champion Jiri Prochazka opted to relinquish her title after suffering a shoulder injury during training camp. .
Although the sudden development allowed Ankalaev to claim his first title in the world’s leading MMA promotion, he also became the latest example of a warlord’s ever-growing influence within the UFC.
Ankalaev is one of a handful of UFC fighters affiliated with Kadyrov, the dictatorial leader of Chechnya, who is now routinely accused of organizing human rights abuses, including assassinations, kidnappings, torture, extrajudicial killings and purges targeting the local LGBTQ+ community.
Their relationship dates back to 2016, when Ankalaev first joined Kadyrov’s Akhmat MMA fight club, a state-sponsored mixed martial arts gym founded by Kadyrov himself. Since then, the Dagestan-born fighter has continued to represent Kadyrov during competitions, including during his UFC tenure.
Ankalaev continued to maintain ties with Kadyrov despite the US Treasury Department’s prohibition of US citizens or persons in the US from doing business with Kadyrov. At that time, the Treasury’s Foreign Assets Control Department cited “extrajudicial executions, torture or other grave violations” among the grounds for sanctioning Kadyrov. The US Treasury also issued sanctions against several of Kadyrov’s businesses, including Akhmat MMA, in 2020.
Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov addresses UFC President Dana White after the draw at the UFC 282 main event.
The result saw Kadyrov’s fighter (Ankalaev) reject a UFC title before demanding the UFC change the outcome, which the dictator ironically blamed “politics”. pic.twitter.com/zN3LMvXgI7
— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) 11 December 2022
Given that Ankalaev will be Kadyrov’s first self-made UFC champion, the dictator now demands that the UFC reverse its decision and crown Ankalaev as champion.
“Take an example from Mairbek Khasiev (ACA league) who has stopped anything. [judging] Referring to the founder of Absolute Championship Akhmat, who is known for disqualifying ACA fighters for being too boring and reversing judging decisions, Kadyrov wrote to demand any bias, neutrality in the league and not to mix sports with politics.
Hey, Dana White, were you going? Save the league’s face, your own face. Admit your mistake, give the belt to the real winner and apologize for this show. Protect your league’s reputation.”