After a trio of former UFC champions were criticized for visiting Chechnya at the behest of the republic’s tyrannical leader Ramzan Kadyrov, another UFC fighter recently claimed to have rejected a similar offer.
UFC bantamweight Sean O’Malley revealed during a recent episode of his Bromalley podcast that he turned down an invitation to attend a birthday party for the Chechen dictator’s son in November.
“The reason we really never ended up going was—who was this for? And we never really got an answer,” said O’Malley. “I’m like, ‘Fuck that.”
As reported by BloodyElbow, former UFC champ welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, former UFC flyweight champ Henry Cejudo, and former interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje were pictured testing firearms at the Russian Special Forces University in Chechnya last month.
Footage showed the former champions testing out grenade launchers and assault rifles at the facility, which is primarily used to train soldiers taking part in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The fighters later attended a birthday party for one of Kadyrov’s teenage sons.
Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov posted a video of former UFC champs Kamaru Usman, Justin Gaethje and Henry Cejudo firing grenade launchers and assault rifles at a special forces facility in Chechnya—a facility that trains Russian soldiers for the country’s invasion of Ukraine pic.twitter.com/BxioliBXp4
— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) November 27, 2022
“They went over to Chechnya, and [Kadyrov] is a murderer, basically—the top dog, best friends with (Vladmir] Putin – not a good person,” Sean O’Malley continued. “And that’s who they went there with, to his kid’s birthday party.”
In December 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury prohibited people doing business in the United States from interacting with several businesses owned by Kadyrov, including his mixed martial arts gym, Akhmat MMA.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control cited “extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations” among the reasons for sanctioning Kadyrov.
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the U.S. State Department is aware of apparent ties between Kadyrov and UFC fighters.
About the author