A Chechen mixed martial arts fighter was detained at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport on Monday after being found in possession of narcotics.
Salman Zhamaldaev, a world champion shoot boxer who trains at the Akhmat fight club operated by Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, was in transit to Grozny when he was stopped and searched by airport officials and law enforcement.
The news was first reported by Russia’s REN TV.
Zhamaldaev was reportedly detained after a 17-year-old drug dealer was arrested and named the fighter as one of his regular clients. The teenager provided law enforcement with enough information for them to detain the fighter. A second report claims the fighter was found with 10 grams of mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant drug that produces effects similar to those of MDMA and cocaine.
The fighter is facing several criminal charges, including possession and sale of drugs, as well as the involvement of a minor in the commission of a crime.
Zhamaldaev is a former WFCA champion with a 20-2 record as a professional MMA fighter. He currently competes for Absolute Championship Akhmat, and holds victories over the likes of Magomedrasul Khasbulaev, Marat Balaev, and former UFC fighter Diego Brandao.
Following Zhamaldaev’s victory against Balaev at ACA 93 in 2019, Kadyrov praised the fighter by refering to him as “an idol for young people.”
“He has strong will, firm character and huge efficiency,” Kadyrov added.
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