clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ACB owner turns down Nike sponsorship over athletics brand’s support of LGBTQ rights

ACB owner Mairbek Khasiev took to social media to explain why his promotion will not work with a pro-gay rights brand. 

Over the past two years, Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) has rapidly grown into one of the most promising MMA organizations emanating from the Russian Federation. However, despite the promotion’s impressive fight cards and talent signings, the Chechen-based fight league continues to struggle with negative publicity stemming from its owner, Mairbek Khasiev.

Khasiev, who personally funds his ACB promotion, recently took to social media to explain to his followers why his organization opted to reject a sponsorship opportunity with Nike, the renowned athletics brand.

"‘Women were created for men and men for women. Do you see animals mating with the same sex? If we allow gay marriage, a man worse than an animal.’ – Manny Pacquiao said. After these words, Nike broke a contract with Manny!!!” Khasiev said (H/T @bayginavukat). “Friends, for a few months we have had negotiations for a Nike sponsorship with ACB but after such a demarche on the part of well-known company, I consider it beneath our dignity to have any relationship with them! I add to all this one expression - "Sometimes the devil is afraid of the thoughts within a f****t’s head."

Khasiev’s homophobic comments are not the first time the ACB owner has created controversy through social media. Several months ago, Khasiev called Ossetians “Iranian Jews” during a social media tirade, which incited ethnic tension that caused the cancellation of ACB 59.

The Chechen promoter’s comments are even more unsavoury when taking into consideration the reported purge of gay men within the Chechen Republic by Ramzan Kadyrov. Since April, reports have emerged that Chechen police have detained hundreds of men on the suspicion of their sexual orientation. Some have been murdered, while countless others have been tortured for information. The Chechen authorities, as well as the Kremlin, continue to deny the reports.