UFC fighter who coaches Kadyrov’s sons released by promotion

Abdul-Kerim Edilov, the UFC fighter who moonlights as the babysitter and MMA coach for Ramzan Kadyrov’s children, has reportedly been released from the world’s…

By: Karim Zidan | 5 years ago
UFC fighter who coaches Kadyrov’s sons released by promotion
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Abdul-Kerim Edilov, the UFC fighter who moonlights as the babysitter and MMA coach for Ramzan Kadyrov’s children, has reportedly been released from the world’s leading MMA promotion.

The news was first reported by Russian media before being confirmed in a statement from Kadyrov’s Akhmat MMA fight club. The statement was released by the fight club’s president Abuzayed Vismuradov — who was sanctioned by the United States for his role in Chechnya’s anti-gay purges — and revealed that Edilov requested his release from the UFC in order to compete for for the newly merged Absolute Championships Akhmat (ACA) promotion.

“False information spread in social networks that fighters of the Akhmat club Abdul-Kerim Edilov and Magomed Bibulatov were fired by the UFC,” Vismuradov stated on his social media accounts. “Naturally, this is not true. The decision for Abdul-Kerim and Magomed to leave the organization was taken by the leadership of FC AHMAT after a conversation with my Dear Brother, Head of the Chechen Republic, Hero of Russia, Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov. Together we came to the conclusion that it is better to fight in the ACA (Absolute Championship Akhmat) organization, where athletes will consistently receive fights and they will not have to be away from home for months. Fighters of the club “Akhmat” more than once argued that they are among the strongest in the world and are able to win at the highest level. I am sure that the main victories of Abdul-Kerim and Magomed are still ahead. AKHMAT POWER!”

Edilov, a member of Kadyrov’s clan and paternal bloodline, gained a reputation as a legitimate light-heavyweight prospect in Russia during an impressive run that saw him compile a 10-fight win streak between 2013-15. He joined the Kadyrov’s newly-founded Akhmat MMA fight club in 2015 and became one of the promotion’s primary representatives. He competed on the inaugural Akhmat MMA event (WFCA 1) in March 2015, where he defeated journeyman Tiago Monaco Tosato in less than three minutes during the evening’s main event. He was rewarded with a hug from Kadyrov, who entered the ring in Akhmat gear accompanied by his three sons and kickboxing great Badr Hari.

Soon afterwards, Edilov became the first Chechen representative of Kadyrov’s regime to sign with the sport’s most recognizable promotion. He did so after agreeing to have Dominance MMA’s Ali Abdel-Aziz – the only UFC manager with a working relationship with Kadyrov – represent him as his manager. However, Edilov UFC debut was sidetracked when the light-heavyweight fighter was suspended for an anti-doping violation before ever making his debut. The Chechen fighter was handed a 15-month suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after he tested positive for meldonium, a prohibited substance, in an out-of-competition drug test in January 2016. USADA granted Edilov a reduced suspension after investigating his claim that the substance was being used for medical purposes.

Edilov eventually made his promotional debut at UFC: Rotterdam show in 2017, where he defeated Bojan Mihajlovic by TKO. Despite the impressive win, however, Edilov did not compete for the UFC again. Instead, he focused on becoming a faithful servant of the Chechen president’s family. He attended Quran recitation classes with Kadyrov’s sons, taught them various martial arts techniques in the gym — techniques they would later use in illegal MMA fights — and even cruised in cars emblazoned with the late Akhmad Kadyrov’s face. The UFC fighter also doubled as the princes’ guardian and personal bodyguard, known to intimidate those he deems a threat to Kadyrov’s children. An example of this occurred last month when HBO Real Sports visited Grozny to interview Kadyrov for a segment on combat sports propaganda in Chechnya.

Edilov’s dedication to Kadyrov’s children seems to have earned him favor with the Chechen leader. To celebrate his 25th birthday, the three sons gifted Edilov with a brand new Porsche Panamera valued at over $120,000 USD.

It should be noted that the UFC’s decision to release Edilov was not based on his dangerous affiliation or penchant for threatening journalists, but at his own request. It remains evidently clear that the UFC is happy to do business with fighters linked to Kadyrov’s promotion.

The UFC has not responded to a request for comment.

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About the author
Karim Zidan
Karim Zidan

Karim Zidan is a investigative reporter and feature writer focusing on the intersection of sports and politics. He has written for BloodyElbow since 2014 and has served as an associate editor since 2016. He also writes for The New York Times and The Guardian. Karim has been invited to speak about his work at numerous universities, including Princeton, and was a panelist at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival and the Oslo Freedom Forum. He also participated in the United Nations counter-terrorism conference in 2021. His reporting on Ramzan Kadyrov’s involvement in MMA, much of which was done for Bloody Elbow, has led to numerous award nominations, and was the basis of an award-winning HBO Real Sports documentary.

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