When Rasul Mirzaev stepped out of his house to celebrate the upcoming New Year with old friends, he was assaulted by unknown attackers who beat him within an inch of his life.
The Sambo champion and renowned Russian MMA fighter was reportedly attacked in the stairwell of his apartment building in Moscow. The assailants used a ‘traumatic pistol’ similar to a high-powered BB gun and shot Mirzaev three times, once in the chin and twice in the chest. The attackers then proceeded to beat the fighter with a baseball bat and attempted to strangle him with chains.
The Moscow police force is currently investigating the attack. Their reports confirmed that the attackers appeared interested in maiming and paralyzing their victim instead of killing him, though they did attempt to strangle him with chains so attempted murder was not ruled out. Video footage also confirmed that the assailants robbed Mirzaev’s apartment and stole jewelry and cash before fleeing the premise.
Shortly following the attack, Mirzaev was rushed to hospital, where he underwent surgery to remove the bullets from his body. He was declared in stable condition thereafter and remains in hospital.
As reports of Mirzaev’s hospitalization began to surface, rumors regarding the reasons behind his attack began to spread. The attack was seemingly an act of revenge after Mirzaev got into a fight at a nightclub in Moscow a couple of week prior. Some suggested that Mirzaev came to the aid of UFC fighter Artem Lobov, who had allegedly been confronted by other Dagestani fighters in the Moscow club. BloodyElbow reached out to Lobov, who confirmed meeting Mirzaev during his trip to Moscow but denied any involvement in a night club incident.
“Not true,” said Lobov. “I did meet [Mirzaev] in Russia, we got on really well he is a very nice guy. I am so shocked that this happened to him but nothing to do with me”
This is far from Mirzaev’s first nightclub incident. Back in 2011, the MMA fighter got into a fight outside the Garage nightclub and struck 19-year-old student Ivan Agafonov with a single blow that killed him. Mirzaev was convicted for manslaughter after the court officially recognized that Agafonov died several days later in the hospital due to concussion caused by the base of his neck hitting the pavement immediately following the blow. He was released in2012 after serving 15 months in detention.
The tragic incident reverberated across Russian society and caused a schism between the North Caucasus, where Mirzarev originates from, and traditional Slavic Russians like Agafonov. Many protested the killing as a matter of nationalist concern. Even as the judge read out the sentence, a group of six nationalists made a deliberate attempt to break into the court house, which was guarded by over 100 police officers. All of them were arrested.