Rumored Bellator signee Rasul Mirzaev (5-0), who has had considerable hype surrounding him due to his vaunted Sambo background and exciting style inside the ring, has been accused of killing 19-year-old student Ivan Agafonov at a Moscow night club called Garage last weekend. The altercation allegedly stemmed from Agafonov paying too much attention to Mirzaev's girlfriend, ultimately leading to a single punch that floored Agafonov.
Agafonov survived the attack, but he was hospitalized over the course of the following week and died four days later. One report from NTV.ru stated that the hospital was so busy attending to other patients that Agafonov was left unattended. Agafonov had issues later, falling onto the floor and turning blue. Eventually, his heart stopped, and that's when, as it was reported by friends of the victim, the hospital took him into the emergency room.
The article goes on to suggest the Mirzaev is facing up to 15 years in prison, but that the circumstances of the incident are rare. Mirzaev's coach Kamil Gadzhiev stated that the incident was a "coincidence", likely relating to the fact that Agafonov hit the ground from the blow, but wasn't killed by the blow itself. In the United States, I think you'd find it very hard to sell that type of defense considering the blow led to the head trauma.
In this case, there is a video, albeit of poor quality, of the altercation, and it's clear that Mirzaev was the aggressor in the attack. While many of the comments made on Russian forums and news sites are pointing toward the ethnic divide between the Dagestan people and Russians, I highly doubt that this was the case. Unfortunately, the fact that Mirzaev is of Dagestan descent could make this a tough sentence for him to avoid in Moscow. Hopefully, the focus stays away from that issue and points directly at the horrific incident that occurred at the night club.
This also comes at a bad time for Russian mixed martial arts in general. The major media powers have begun to cover the sport over the last year, providing a platform for the sport to grow. Some of the focused media pieces have aired on big networks, and there was a thought, in my mind, that Russia may be heading toward their own TUF-era boom at some point in the next five years. This incident certainly won't help calm tempers that it's a combat "sport" worth watching.
MMAJunkie.com reported this small tidbit of information in regards to Mirzaev's contract status:
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported Mirzaev's Bellator signing earlier this week. However, MMAjunkie.com has since confirmed with sources close to the fighter that while a contract was offered, the paperwork has not yet been completed, and Mirzaev is not officially on the promotion's roster.
As you would expect, that contract will likely be torn up and burned. Mirzaev was one of our top five featherweight prospects up for consideration for the 2012 World MMA Scouting Report. It looks like his potential has quickly come to an end.