Vladimir Putin gives American MMA fighter $150K after watching him get beat up by Alex Shlemenko

Veteran MMA journalist Josh Gross has scored an epic tale. It seems that while fighting in Russia in 2012, on break from being Bellator's…

By: Nate Wilcox | 9 years ago
Vladimir Putin gives American MMA fighter $150K after watching him get beat up by Alex Shlemenko
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Veteran MMA journalist Josh Gross has scored an epic tale.

It seems that while fighting in Russia in 2012, on break from being Bellator’s Middleweight champ, Alexander Shlemenko dished out a beating to American journeyman Anthony Ruiz in front of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin…a beating so epic that Pooty-poot felt compelled to make it rain all over Ruiz’ bank account.

Here’s some nuggets from the story:

Shelmenko, who “hit me probably a thousand times,” tallied Ruiz. “My nose was broken all the way to the side in the last round. It was brutal.”

Alexei Zhernakov, Shlemenko’s manager and matchmaker for the evening’s promoter, League S-70, described Ruiz’s night like this: “He got the crap beat out of him.”

Putin liked what he saw, from both fighters:

“Putin was right to tell me I fought nobly-I didn’t want to kill Ruiz in the ring,” said Shlemenko.

Putin thought enough of the American’s resilience and courage to offer a standing ovation, kind words and significantly more.

Immediately after the fight, with the tone of one friend telling another they have food stuck between their teeth, the Russian president offered this advice in English.

Said Putin: “You need to fix your nose.”

And when you come to Putin’s attention in a good way, good things happen:

Two weeks after returning home, mostly recovered by then, Ruiz’s phone rang. The voice on the other end spoke English, although it was obvious this was an intermediary for a Russian party who could be overheard in the background.

Ruiz was asked about his health.

Did he need anything?

He was fine, he said.

Then he was asked for a SWIFT code-the standard format for transferring money between banks, especially internationally. Ruiz didn’t have a clue. He visited his bank to inquire why anyone would want to know such a thing.

Two days later, after deciding to play along, $50,000 was wired into his account from the Russian Federation.

Understandably, Ruiz freaked out. He checked with his financial institution and was told, indeed, it’s real money and, better yet, his to keep.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he recalled. “Then the next day, boom, another $50,000.”

For all Ruiz knew, a third wire transfer, also to the tune of $50,000, represented the number of times Shlemenko buried him in Sochi.

“The bank was telling me there’s some people who aren’t all that straight doing transfers and stuff like that,” he said. “I also knew it was coming from Putin, and he’s one of the wealthiest persons in the world. So, really, $150,000 ain’t that much to him. That’s what I’m telling myself to justify it. Sure enough, I kept it in there and left it alone. It was real. It really happened.”

Read the whole post, it’s excellent.

The bout took place at League S-70: The Russian Championship Finals. Ruiz has gone 3-1 in pro bouts since losing to Shlemenko.

Share this story

About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

More from the author

Related Stories