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Russian MMA coach arrested on suspicion of organizing contract killing

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Vladimir Osiya, 35, was arrested at his home on suspicion of being involved in organizing the 2019 shooting. 

Vladimir Osiya — renowned as one of the most prominent and successful MMA coaches in Russia — has been arrested on suspicion of organizing the assassination of the shopping centre manager in Moscow.

The news was reported by the 112 Telegram channel and sports.ru. The news was later confirmed by multiple Russian media outlets, who added that three other suspects were also arrested.

“Investigative actions are ongoing. All detainees, including Vladimir Osiya, are being interrogated. Testimonies that were given during the investigation of the criminal case on the organization of the murder of a businessman in the Moscow Region in 2019 are being checked,” an unnamed source told tass.ru.

The ongoing arrest and interrogation is related to the murder of Nikolai Leonov, who was gunned down while on his way to the shopping centre in suburban Moscow where he worked. Shortly thereafter, law enforcement officers detained the wife of the shopping centre’s director, who was allegedly involved in organizing the murder.

According to reports, police officers also discovered a white powdery substance beside the apartment building where Osiya resided. Upon further examination, it was determined to be 1.8 kilograms worth of cocaine, and is now assumed that Osiya threw the substance out of his window prior to his arrest.

Osiya, 35, is best known as the coach of popular middleweight fighter Magomed Ismailov. He was named the best MMA coach of 2016 by the Russian MMA Union and was awarded the title of Honoured Coach of Russia, the highest rank for a coach, in 2019.

Despite the arrest, prominent figures within the Russian MMA landscape remain hopeful that he will be deemed innocent.

“Arrested under suspicion and proven guilty - that’s two big differences,” Fight Nights Global owner Kamil Gadzhiev told Sports 24 (h/t RT Sports): To talk about his guilt is premature. If so, then it is a very sad circumstance not only for me and Magomed (Ismailov), but as a whole for (Russian) MMA industry.”