On Nov. 14, 2020, the Luzhniki Olympic Complex in Moscow played host to the ‘Battle of Champions’ combat sports event – a multi-discipline event featuring kickboxing, karate, Sambo, and jiu-jitsu competitors.
The event was a rare opportunity for fans to enjoy a combat sports event in Moscow since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. And while there were eight fights taking place that night, the most significant bout took place outside the ring when one-time UFC fighter Adam Yandiev sucker-punched Russian MMA fighter Sergei Kharitanov in a brawl that led to the latter’s hospitalization.
The dispute reportedly stemmed from a 2 million ruble debt (approx. $26,000) that Yandiev owed Kharitanov. During the event, the two fighters left the arena and stood in a backstage area, where they could be seen exchanging words. Shortly thereafter, Yandiev began throwing repeated blows at the heavyweight fighter. Kharitanov, who had his hands in his pockets, was unable to defend himself and could be seen tumbling backwards until he collapsed on the ground.
While Kharitanov attempted to regain his composure and grapple with Yandiev, the UFC fighter was better prepared and continued to land punches on Kharitanov until police officers stepped in to stop the brawl.
The entire incident was captured on camera footage from the stadium:
Адам Яндиев vs Сергей Харитонов. Причина драки неизвестна. По слухам, за деньги и/или какой-то долг. #драка #харитонов #яндиев #мма #россия #mma #Dynamitemen pic.twitter.com/saoHy1yOS9— Александр Орманжи (@Ormanzh) November 14, 2020
The incident reportedly took place after Yandiev had already attacked Ruslan Abdo, a businessman and fellow fighter who is also friends with Kharitanov. Yandiev broke Abdo’s nose in the encounter, which was also captured on camera.
Yandiev was later detained by the police, while Kharitanov was hospitalized with a fractured orbital bone, a broken nose, and a concussion. He later claimed that the conflict was over a sum of money that Yandiev owed after Kharitaonov helped fund a training camp in Thailand so that Yandiev could escape a feud he had allegedly become caught up in.
Kharitanov has since undergone surgery and has been discharged from hospital. The MMA veteran has also filed a fraud claim against Yandiev.