‘Take the article down or I can’t help you with what comes next…’ – Karim Zidan Interview

Tête-à-tête (French “head-to-head”): noun – a private conversation between two people, usually in an intimate setting. | adjective – involving or happening between two people in private. | adverb – between two people in private.

By: June M. Williams | 5 months ago
‘Take the article down or I can’t help you with what comes next…’ – Karim Zidan Interview
Combat Sports in Russia-Ukraine | Art by: Chris Rini

Tête-à-tête (French “head-to-head”): noun – a private conversation between two people, usually in an intimate setting. | adjective – involving or happening between two people in private. | adverb – between two people in private.

‘Kid Nate’ is BACK!

The MMA Tête-à-tête/MMA Bunker/MMA Bathrobe review is back after a nine-year hiatus, ‘Kid’ Nate Wilcox is reviving one of our most popular MMA podcasts. Thank you for joining us for Episode 06: A candid conversation between ‘Kid Nate’ Wilcox and Karim Zidan, Investigative Journalist.

This Week’s Guest

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.

‘Kid Nate’ welcomes him onto the Bloody Elbow Podcast Network, while giving all the lucky BE Substack listeners over forty minutes of pure, unadulterated bonus content.

This Week’s Episode

Hola cage-fighting connoisseurs! In this episode, ‘Kid Nate’ hunkers down in the MMA Bunker with his elite guest, Karim Zidan, award-winning journalist. They talk tête-à-tête on his MMA roots, the typo that lead to a captivating career in journalism, his experiences covering MMA and politics in Russia, how he came to be an expert on the infamous Ramzan Kadyrov, his unyielding devotion to his craft despite threats on his life, and more!

Topics Include:

  • Karim’s personal journey into becoming an MMA Fan, and member of the MMA Media
  • His time commentating for M1 Global in Russia, among other countries.
  • His bloody debut sitting cageside.
  • His love of St. Petersburg, and equal disdain for Moscow.
  • His ability to see all is not as it may appear on the surface, even in sports like MMA.
  • His first big interview with Gracie BJJ practitioner and actor, Ed O’Neill.
  • Karim’s breakout longform evergreen piece based on an interview with Khabib’s father.
  • He gives us the run down on basic differences between the Dagestani and Chechen fight cultures.
  • Khamzat Chimaev as a fighter and main general in Kadyrov’s Chechnya.
  • Gunfire outside his hotel room.
  • Dagestani fighters have no fear in the octagon after having lived the lives they’ve had to survive.
  • Fabricio Werdum as Kadryrov’s fight club Ambassador.
  • UFC’s lazy marketing strategy for one ethnic fighter to represent a gateway into their entire country’s market.
  • The first time Zidan felt compelled to write about Ramzan Kadyrov, and the ensuing threats he faced for having done so over the years.
  • The apology that would never come and why; the articles that will never be taken down despite the danger in leaving them up.
  • That time we wanted to hire a Security Consulting Firm for Karim’s protection at an awards ceremony… did he get to attend?
  • The dangerous outcomes we skirted when Conor ignorantly started his Beef Wars with Khabib.
  • The religious tension that was heightened due to Conor consistently insulting Khabib, it was not just innocent trash talk.
  • The geopolitical situation with MMA now that Endeavor owns both UFC and WWE.
  • UFC no longer creates celebrities, they deal in filling up Saturday Night fight cards for ESPN+ these days, primarily at the APEX; are they eroding interest in their brand by selling regional nobodies instead of big name fighters, like your Khabib’s, McGregor’s & Rousey’s?

Tune-in to this Bloody Elbow Podcast Production with our fearless leader ‘Kid Nate’ Wilcox, and enjoy! Thanks for pledging your support to the efforts of our 100% listener-supported podcast team, and joining us for the show today!

Karim Zidan, Ramzan Kadyrov, Kadyrov, MMA Journalist, MMA Interview, MMA, UFC, MMA Podcast, UFC Podcast, Bloody Elbow Podcast, MMA Bunker Podcast, MMA Têtê-À-Têtê, MMA Tete-a-tete Podcast spin-off, Kid Nate, Nate Wilcox,

Show History

The ‘MMA Tête–À–Tête with ‘Kid Nate’ was born as a spin off of our wildly successful MMA Bunker’ podcast & Kid Nate’s ‘Bathrobe Review’ series, about a decade or so ago. This show has always featured our fearless leader ‘Kid Nate’ inviting guests from the MMA world and MMA Media Community to have a one-on-one candid conversation with him about hot button topics in Combat Sports. Today, we continue on with that tradition.

Previous guests have included MMA notables, the likes of which include; Luke Thomas, Coach Michael Riordan, Dallas Winston, Brian D’Souza, John Makdessi, Jack Encarnacao, as well as our very own Fight Analyst and Deputy Site Editor Zane Simon, MMA Podcast Producer and MMA Podcast Host Stephie Haynes and Guest Author and Podcast Host, Eugene S. Robinson, Ben ‘The Bane’ Davis, Jason Cruz, and now, Karim Zidan.

We churned out a total of sixty-six episodes of the show over the course of two years, spanning from 2011 to 2013. It is truly our pleasure to bring this MMA show back to the airwaves for you. Thank you for listening to this Bloody Elbow Podcast Network Production with our owner, ‘Kid Nate’ Wilcox.

Follow Us

You can enjoy more from Karim Zidan regarding the places where combat sports intersect with politics on his @SportsPolitika Substack newsletter, continue to enjoy his work here as our Investigations Editor on Bloody Elbow, read his words in The New York Times, and The Guardian, and follow him for engaging content on twitter @ZidanSports. You can also catch up with ‘Kid Nate’ on twitter @KidNate. While you’re browsing social media, be sure to follow us as @BloodyElbow on twitterfacebookinstagram, and at BloodyElbow.Substack.com & BloodyElbowPodcast.Substack.com.

Thanks for your support!

Our Podcasts Have a New Home

Bloody Elbow Podcasts on Substack is your place for all the BE combat sports oriented shows you love, like ‘Show Money’, ‘The 6th Round Post-Fight Show’, ‘The MMA Vivisections’, ‘The MMA Depressed-Us’, ‘The MMA Bunker’, ‘MMA Tête-À-Tête’, ‘The Level Change Podcast’, ‘The Hey Not The Face! Podcast’, and more.

Our BE Podcast Network is 100% listener-supported, meaning paid subscriptions help make sure these shows continue to run. So, please support our team by joining us for bonus content and bonus podcasts on Substack today.

Other Places to Find Our Shows

If you enjoy what we do, please give us a shout out in the comments here on Bloody Elbow. Thank you for tuning in to this Bloody Elbow Podcast Network Production. Subscribe to Bloody Elbow Podcast Substack to get these shows directly in your email inbox and instant notifications for when your favourite pod drops.

In addition to Substack you can still find our shows on the following platforms:

Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Amazon Music, Audible, Spotify, Simplecast, TuneIn, Overcast, Castbox, Castbox Premium, Podchaser, Podvine, Podbay.fm, RSSRadio, AntennaPod, Podkicker, Podkicker Pro, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, iHeart Radio, SiriusXM, Pandora, Stitcher, PodcastApp, PocketCasts, Player.fm, PodCruncher, thisMMAlife.com, Podbean, Podtail, Owltail, Listen Notes, & iVooxApp. 

The shows will soon be available on these platforms, too:

Castro, Podcast Addict, Podtail, Owltail, Podbean, Chartable, imdb, podtoppen.se, Podcast Republic, DownCast, iCatcher!, Castaway, Castaway2, & BeyondPod!

Investigative Journalism via Karim Zidan

Listen to a Glimpse of the Show on Our SoundCloud

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About the author
June M. Williams
June M. Williams

June M. Williams is the Bloody Elbow Ombudsperson, Lead Fixer, Author, Statistician, Watch Party Moderator, and Podcast Network & Syndication Manager.

She began work for the Combat Sports Division of SB Nation in 2010, making Bloody Elbow her primary home since 2014.

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