Despite ongoing U.S. government scrutiny regarding the relationship between UFC fighters and Chechnya’s strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, another former UFC champion has has chosen to affiliate with the dictator’s family.
Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt was photographed training alongside fellow UFC fighter Khamzat Chimaev and Kadyrov’s son, Ali, in Dubai last week.
Ali posted the photo himself on Instagram stories. He later shared another photo standing next to Garbrandt, who captioned the post: “Another champion arrives at camp.”
Garbrandt is the latest UFC champion to be linked to the family of Ramzan Kadyrov, who has long been accused of orchestrating human rights abuses including assassinations, abductions, torture, extrajudicial killings, and purges targeting the local LGBTQ+ community.
Last month, former UFC champ welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, former UFC flyweight champ Henry Cejudo, and former interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje attended a birthday party for one of another one of Kadyrov’s teenage sons at the dictator’s behest. The trio were later pictured testing firearms at the Russian Special Forces University in Chechnya.
Chimaev, a Chechen-born Swedish resident, has also routinely been pictured alongside Kadyrov and his sons, and has been known to train with them during trips to Chechnya. Most recently, the UFC star took Kadyrov’s sons with him to Dubai to train alongside members of his Allstar team.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has prohibited people doing business in the United States from interacting with several businesses owned by Kadyrov, including his mixed martial arts gym, Akhmat MMA, since December 2020. The U.S. Department of State also informed The New York Times that it is aware of apparent ties between Kadyrov and UFC fighters.
Garbrandt is scheduled to face Julio Arce at UFC 285, the upcoming pay-per-view scheduled for March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.