Chechen leader slammed for letting young sons fight MMA bouts


Chechen strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov sparked a row in Russia on Wednesday after his three sons aged between 8 and 10 fought in the ring in a brutal mixed martial arts contest in breach of rules.

In video footage posted by Kadyrov on Instagram, his 10-year-old son Akhmad is shown knocking out his opponent within seconds at the contest in Grozny, watched by his father in the audience.

The head of the Russian Mixed Martial Arts Union, Fedor Emelianenko, condemned the holding of the children’s fights during the Grand Prix Akhmat-2016 competition in Chechen capital Grozny.

“What happened at the tournament in Grozny is unacceptable and cannot be justified,” Emelianenko wrote on Instagram, saying that the children’s fights were announced as exhibition performances, but were in fact “real fights.”

“Little boys who are 8 years old are beating up each other in front of cheering adults,” he said.

Kadyrov said his eldest son Akhmad was competing in the weight category of up to 33 kilograms, while his younger sons Eli, 9, and Adam, 8, took part in the 27-kilogram and 35-kilogram categories, also beating their opponents.

Videos posted by Kadyrov show blaring music and an announcer shouting as bare-chested small boys kick and hit each other on the head in the ring.

Emelianenko said that children under 12 are not allowed to compete and those over 12 are supposed to wear a helmet.

“I am really outraged by the fact that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov was watching all of this,” Emelianenko added.

Emelianenko, a former world champion, is a member of President Vladimir Putin’s council on developing physical culture and sport.

Russia’s sports ministry said it would investigate.

“We will find out about this situation and we will request information on this,” deputy sports minister Pavel Kolobkov told TASS state news agency.

Kadyrov was inaugurated for a third term on Wednesday after winning almost 98 percent of the vote. The muscle-bound leader regularly posts photographs of his gym sessions.

Often called “fight without rules” in Russian, the combat discipline of mixed martial arts allows blows with legs and hands.

Putin is apparently a fan and in 2011 climbed into the ring at a tournament in Moscow to congratulate Emelianenko on beating American Jeff Monson, who has since acquired a Russian passport.

Among those shown watching Tuesday’s fights with Kadyrov was Putin’s close ally biker Alexander Zaldostanov, who goes by the nickname of “Khirurg” (the surgeon).

The Grozny tournament is named after Kadyrov’s father, the previous Chechen leader who was assassinated in 2004.

© 2016 AFP

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