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Speaking of Questionable Prison Tatoos

Tonight's Hardcore Championship Fighting in Canada is featuring a headline match between Aleksander "Fedor's Little Brother" Emelianenko and veteran Dan Bobish. Aleksander did some prison time in Russia and supposedly the tattoos covering his body tell the story -- what crimes, how much time, etc.

Here's Alexsander beating up Eric Pele a few months ago.

He shouldn't have any trouble with Dan Bobish who hasn't been a contender since the Mark Kerr era.

Ok I was just linking to this, but it's too juicy not to excerpt some of the wikipedia entry on Russian prison tattoos:

Russian criminal tattoos have a complex system of symbols which can be 'read' to give quite detailed information about the wearer. Not only do the symbols carry meaning but the area of the body on which they are placed may be meaningful too. The initiation tattoo of a new gang member is usually placed on the chest and may incorporate a rose. A rose on the chest is also used within the Russian Mafia. Wearing false or unearned tattoos is punishable by death in the criminal underworld.

Tattoos done in a Russian prison have a distinct blueish color and usually appear somewhat blurred because of the lack of instruments to draw fine lines. The ink is often created from burning the heel of a shoe and mixing the soot with urine.

In addition to voluntary tattooing, tattoos are used to stigmatize and punish individuals within the criminal society. They may be placed on an individual who fails to pay debts in card games, or otherwise breaks the criminal code, and often have very blatant sexual images, embarrassing the wearer. The victim of a forcibly applied tattoo is nevertheless required to pay the tattoo artist for his work.

Tattoos on the forehead are usually forcibly applied, and designed both to humiliate the bearer and warn others about him or her. They frequently consist of slurs about the bearer's ethnicity, sexual orientation, or perceived collusion with the prison authorities. They can indicate that the bearer is a member of a political group considered offensive by other prisoners (e.g. Vlasovite), or has been convicted of a crime (such as child rape) which is disapproved of by other criminals.

Tattoos that consist of political or anti-authoritarian statements are known as 'grins'. They are often tattooed on the stomach of a vor v zakone, as a means of acquiring status in the criminal community. A Russian criminologist, Yuri Dubyagin, has claimed that, during the Soviet era, there existed 'secret orders' that an anti-government tattoo must be 'destroyed surgically', and that this procedure was usually fatal. Consequently, such tattoos were also sometimes applied forcibly to the back of a violator of the 'thieves' code', as punishment.

Update [2007-10-19 11:10:9 by Kid Nate]:

Found this Winnipeg Canada newspaper article on HCF's recent signing binge, I'd heard about Babalu and Little Nog but not Riggs, Belfort and Arona:

Pride's Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, former UFC veterans Renato (Babalu) Sobral and Joe Riggs have signed on. Negotiations are ongoing with former UFC heavyweight champ Vitor Belfort, Pride vet Ricardo Arona and Canadian John Alessio.