Approximately one month removed from his victory against welterweight contender Gilbert Burns at UFC 273, Khmazat Chimaev has returned to his native Chechnya to meet with local dictator Ramzan Kadyrov.
Appearing in a series of videos published by Kadyrov on social media, Chimaev could be seen embracing the strongman and presenting him with gifts in the form of boxing gloves and various other sports equipment.
“After a resounding victory over the Brazilian Gilbert Burns, the first thing “Chechen Wolf” Khamzat Chimaev did upon returning to his native land was visit me,” Kadyrov wrote on social media. “It was with great pleasure to see our undefeated fighter and personally congratulate him on his victory. Also, Khamzat did not forget about my commitment to sports and a healthy lifestyle and presented me with memorable gifts in the form of sports equipment.
“Khamzat is a unique fighter, has a huge arsenal of fighting skills. Over and over again, he pleases us with spectacular fights, leaving no chance of victory for his opponents, who, by an unfortunate coincidence, had a chance to go one on one with him. The number of unconditional victories is growing rapidly, in contrast to defeats, the mark of which is invariably at zero. Modest in everyday life, Khamzat, entering the octagon, quickly transforms into an unstoppable fighter who does not suffer defeat.” ⠀
Kadyrov, who has ruled Chechnya like his personal fiefdom since rising to power in 2007, is routinely accused of orchestrating human rights abuses including assassinations, abductions, torture, extrajudicial killings, and purges targeting the local LGBTQ+ community. He also uses sports such as football and MMA to distract from his ongoing abuses and to help whitewash his image on a global stage, which is why he launched his Akhmat MMA fight club in 2015.
Chimaev has visited Kadyrov’s Akhmat MMA fight club on numerous occasions, including after the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) levied sanctions against the gym in December 2020.
Chimaev is also considered to be among Kadyrov’s favorite fighters. The dictator gifted Chimaev a luxury Mercedes Benz (which Chimaev promptly crashed), sparred with Chimaev on camera, and posed with the fighter for a photo op on several occasions. ⠀
During his most recent visit earlier this week, Chimaev could be seen sparring with Kadyrov’s teenage sons during a training session at an Akhmat MMA facility.
Read more about Chimaev’s troubling relationship with Kadyrov here.