On August 21, a beach volleyball stadium in Omsk, Russia was transformed into a gladiator pit for aspiring MMA fighters. A makeshift ring was erected from the sand. The ropes were made of braided rope and the canvas was nothing more than matted grass and patted sand. Small crowds huddled around the makeshift square chanting ‘Russiya' while their countrymen flailed gloved fists at each other.
Incredibly, the fights which appeared to be nothing more than a replica of a scene from ‘Snatch,' were regulated by the Russian MMA Union. A single judge watched the proceedings from alongside the pseudo-ring. The referee placed in the ring with the two fighters was also an official from the Union.
Russia's leading regulatory body appeared to be authorizing street fights.
The bizarre scene took place under the STRELKA banner, a promotion that presents itself as "MMA fighting without rules." They've held several events to date, including an event in Omsk last Sunday.
This marks the latest in a series of questionable decision taken by the Russian MMA Union. The organization gained notoriety earlier this summer during the Fedor vs. Maldonado contest when BloodyElbow revealed the conflict of interest between Emelianenko and the Union that he heads. Now it appears the Union will allow the regulation of arguably unsafe MMA competition.
The Russian MMA Union was not available for comment.