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Russian MMA fighter relinquishes title due to religion: ‘I can’t fight my Muslim brothers’

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Gorilla Fighting Championship middleweight champion Rinat Fakhretdinov refused to defend his title due to his religious beliefs.

A Russian MMA champion chose to give up his own title rather than defend it against his fellow Muslim fighters.

Gorilla Fighting Championship (GFC) middleweight champion Rinat Fakhretdinov revealed that he has no intention of fighting his fellow ‘Muslim brothers’ in the cage, citing his religious motives as the reason for relinquishing his title.

The news was confirmed by the Russian promotion in an Instagram post.

“I don’t fight against my brothers due to my religious beliefs. Now the belt contenders are Faridun Odilov and Dauren Ermekov. They are Muslim and I don’t fight against my brothers,” Fakhredtinov said in the post. “A fight is fight, you need to be fully focused entering the cage. I’m a fighter. I cannot beat my brothers at full strength, and I don’t want to play the fool in the cage and punch somebody in the face. To be fair I need to perform against any opponent chosen by the league. But I can’t do it due to my religious motives.”

The 28-year-old middleweight holds a 19-2 professional record, which includes a 13-fight win streak dating back to 2014. The vast majority of his victories have come by submission or knockout.

While Fakhretdinov is no longer the GFC middleweight champion, he has no intention of retiring and plans to return to the cage as long as his opponent is not of the Muslim faith.