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Report: Eagles MMA executive wanted for attempted murder of MMA fighter

Karim Zidan delves into the controversy surrounding Eagles MMA, the fight club founded by oligarch Ziyavudin Magomedov and once featured UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov as its president. 

Denis Klopnev & Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov

Eagles MMA, the Dagestani fight club founded by oligarch Ziyavudin Magomedov and featured UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as its president, is once again engulfed in scandal.

Denis Klopnev, the former manager of Summa Group and current executive of Eagles MMA, was arrested in absentia for the attempted murder of sambo fighter Shamil Kuramagomedov, a bronze medalist in the 2017 Russian Combat Sambo Championship. Klopnev has since been placed on the international wanted list.

The accusations against Klopnev come several months after a group of fighters affiliated to Eagles MMA and Summa Group attacked Kuramagomedov and beat him within an inch of his life. The fighter was hospitalized with a concussion, a traumatic brain injury, and a broken nose but opted not to report his assault to the police.

Despite travelling back to his native Dagestan, Kuramagomedov continued to be targeted by the assailants. Aware of the risk on his life, Kuramagomedov decided to come forward to the police. An investigation was opened in November 2017 and several of the suspects were detained 10 months later in September 2018.

According to the report, Kuramagomedov and the suspects all trained at the same gym, which was also owned by Summa Group. One of the defendants in the case is Felix Urujev, a “sports coach and judge” who was charged with the “intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm.” Another detained suspect was Ismail Aliyev, a bronze medalist in Wushu.

Kommersant has since reported that Klopnev was one of the eight fighters suspected of assaulting Kuramagomedov, which prompted his arrest in absentia. The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow also arrested three other fighters in absentia: world kickboxing champion Kurban Omarov, hand-to-hand combat champion Rashid Sirazhudinov, and Khasan Umalatov.

The investigation does not specify why the fighters affiliated to Eagles MMA — a gym that featured Khabib Nurmagomedov as its president — attacked Kuramagomedov. However, according to Kommersant, the conflict arose after Kuramagomedov showed interest in usurping leadership from Klopnev.

“Allegedly, someone promised [Kuramagomedov], but the question had to be settled with Klopnev himself,” an unnamed source told Kommersant. “The conversation did not work out, and everything ended in a fight. But there were no injuries to Kuramagomedov. Moreover, no one wanted to kill him: can you imagine what an entire team of experienced hand-to-hand fighters would do to him if they wanted to?”

This marks the latest criminal investigation linked to Magomedov. The oligarch, whose wealth is estimated at $1.2 billion, was arrested in March 2018 on charges of embezzlement and the “organization of a criminal community” within Russia. Magomedov was denied bail and is currently in pre-trial detention. He faces a potential 20-year sentence if convicted.

All the suspects detained have denied their involvement in the crime. Even Klopnev, who is reportedly a senior executive of Eagles MMA, denied any relation to the fight club.

It should also be noted that Khabib Nurmagomedov is still listed as the president of Eagles MMA on his official website.