Between the years 2002-14, Konstantin Gluhov was barely fighting for himself. In fact, while 100 percent of the effort was on him to win, 100 percent of his fight purse went into the hands of someone else, his longtime coach Yuriy Ryjikov.
Few understood his close connection with his coach until July 2014, when the 28-15 fighter released a statement explaining that he had been involved in a sect that was taking all his money.
"I left my coach, Yuriy Ryjikov, because he was robbing me during all 12 years of my training under his camp," Gluhov said in his statement. "And furthermore, by talking about his own "warrior code" he lied to me, humiliated me, embroiled me with my family and friends.
"Yuriy persuaded me that I should give him all money from my fights, as he was not a coach, but mentor. And tutorship can't be done without full submission from my side."
Gluhov came under serious threats from the coach and his "people" whenever he would attempt to leave. Finally, last year, he was able to separate from the sect, but it was not without its difficulties. He spent months afraid that the coach will seek his revenge on Gluhov's family.
"But when I eventually left him, I started to receive threats from him and his people. I am afraid now, because he is capable of everything, including criminal methods. I'm afraid for my family."
Flash-forward a year into the future, Gluhov has seemingly recovered from his 12-year financial imprisonment.
"Last year was a turning point in my life." Gluhov told Sports.ru. "I finally broke free of any relations with my former coach, Ryjikov, and escaped from his control and dictatorship.
"Finally, I feel like a normal person."
Gluhov did indeed have to ‘escape' his coach's control. Along with his wife, Anna, the fighter fled from Riga, Latvia, and moved to Kharkiv, Ukraine for several months.
"My wife helped me a lot to leave from Ryjikov's sect. It was a very important time for me. We left Riga for Kharkiv where I spent about two months. I didn't want to train too hard - I was relaxing. I even thought that I shouldn't fight anymore.
Gluhov overcame that dread eventually. He received a call from M-1 Global several months later and was asked to fight Damian Grabowski in their debut event in Beijing, China.
While Gluhov lost that competitive fight via arm-triangle choke in the final round, he knew he was still a winner. He will now continue to fight for Russia's leading promotion after having overcome the biggest opponent of his career.
"I'm proud of the victory over the crazy coach."