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UFC star Khamzat Chimaev poses with Kadyrov after training session at dictator’s MMA fight club

The UFC star continues to maintain a close relationship with Kadyrov despite the sanctions levied against the dictator and his fight club.

Khamzat Chimaev continues to play with fire.

The UFC star posted a picture of himself alongside Ramzan Kadyrov, the dictator accused of well-documented human rights abuses, including forced disappearances, torture, summary executions and an ongoing purge of Chechnya’s LGBTQ+ community.

The duo appeared to be have posed for the photo following a training session at the Akhmat MMA fight club, a combat sports facility founded and funded by Kadyrov himself. The fight club is also facing sanctions from the U.S Department of the Treasury.

A second picture from the same training session showed Chimaev and Kadyrov seated alongside the dictator’s three teenage sons, former UFC fighter-turned-politician Abdul-Kerim Edilov, as well as Russian rapper Timati.

The post was captioned “Akhmat Sila,” a battle cry popularized by Kadyrov that translates to Akhmat Power. It is also a phrase that has consistently been used by Chechen troops taking part in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Chimaev’s post-workout snap with Kadyrov and his entourage marks the latest in a series of photos that the UFC star has posted of the dictator and his family during his recent trip to Chechnya. Last week, Chimaev visited Kadyrov’s home and posted a picture of the strongman playing with a dog. He later uploaded several photos from a training session with Kadyrov’s teenage sons—the same sons that Kadyrov vowed to send to fight in Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

1ADAT, a Chechen opposition group and online movement, has since taken a public stance against Chimaev, referring to him as a “mindless slave” for his continued ties to Kadyrov.

“Know your place, Kadyrov’s puppy,” read a recent post on the 1ADAT Telegram channel.

Chimaev’s posts came in the wake of reports that Kadyrov is forcibly conscripting Chechen men and sending them off as “volunteer” battalions to the frontlines in Ukraine. The Chechen dictator also threatened to use nuclear weapons on Ukraine and has since been promoted to the rank of Colonel-General in the war.

In response to Kadyrov’s involvement in Russia’s aggressions in Ukraine, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed new sanctions on the strongman leader and some of his immediate family members.