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Ukrainian UFC fighter calls out Khabib Nurmagomedov for silence on Russia’s invasion

Ihor Potieria sent an open message to the former UFC lightweight champion questioning his decision to remain “silent” on Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

UFC 254: Khabib v Gaethje Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

As Russia continues to wage war in Ukraine, leading to more than a million displaced citizens and hundreds of civilian casualties, a Ukrainian UFC fighter is calling on Khabib Nurmagomedov to speak out against the atrocities.

“You were loved by millions,” Ihor Potiera said in a post on Instagram stories. “You’ve been an example in many martial arts gyms. You started your career in Ukraine. You speak about honor and faith. And now you are silent.”

This is not the first time that Nurmagomedov has been called out for not addressing an ongoing global crisis. Last year, he was criticized for not addressing the fall of Kabul and the subsequent Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

Nurmagomedov has long been outspoken about topics that involve Muslims. In October 2020, the fighter took aim at Emmanuel Macron, invoking the wrath of God on the French president over his comments about Islam after a high school teacher was beheaded in a Paris suburb for showing pupils caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in a lesson on free speech. He has also spoken out about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

It is worth noting that Nurmagomedov previously met with Russian president Vladimir Putin following his 2018 victory against fellow former champion Conor McGregor. Nurmagomedov also maintains ties with Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, who has also deployed troops to Russia’s ongoing military campaign.

Potieria, who earned a UFC contract in September 2021 following a first-round TKO victory against Łukasz Sudolski on Dana White’s Contender Series, also called out Russian MMA fighter Alexander Shlemenko for his ongoing support for Russia’s assault on Ukraine.

“You are not a warrior,” Potiera said in a caption on Instagram accompanying a picture of Shlemenko. “You are an accomplice of a killer.”