Even before more firm accusations of fraud came to light, it was clear at a glance that Askar Mozharov’s MMA record was somewhat a construction of smoke and mirrors. Signed to the UFC with a resume of 25 wins and 7 losses, ‘No Mercy’ had a past stuffed with 0-0 opponents, fighters on long losing streaks, and bouts where both the provenance of the organization and the opponent were difficult to trace.
His chance in the world’s largest MMA promotion came off the back of three straight victories, over men whose records looked okay on paper. Together they were 43-22, not too shabby at a glance. Look a little deeper, however and far and away the best opponent any of them had beaten was a 43-year-old 10-13 journeyman. Apart from that single fight, it’d be a stretch to find 20 victories total out of their 65 opponents. All three wins for Mozharov came effectively on the first clean strikes he landed in the opening minutes of the first round.
That kind of can crushing isn’t anything terribly new in MMA. The farther flung reaches of the world consistently play home to a ready supply of warm bodies to pad out the record of a struggling fighter looking to make it to the big leagues.
What makes Mozharov’s case more interesting are the reported attempts to not just grab easy wins, but to manufacture victories and erase losses with MMA’s record keeping bodies along the way. A recent article from Sherdog’s ‘Fight Finder Files’ series detailed the struggle to find the real in the Ukranian’s seemingly manufactured MMA journey.
The article alleges that Mozharov actually started his career under the names Artur Shadkov, Artur Sadkov, and Arthur Shadakov—although most of that confusion likely stemmed from regional language differences that can crop up with Cyrillic dialects. Once Shadkov changed his name to Mozharov, however, it seems he started a serious campaign with record keepers to convince them that he and Shadkov were two separate people. All those early losses? Nah, that was some other dude.
Even if record keepers weren’t fooled there, the Fight Finder profile alleges that representatives for Mozharov regularly submitted falsified records to their site and campaigned for newer losses to be removed, even going so far as to mock up false fight posters for events and make claims that they represented other fighting organizations or governing bodies.
They may not have got every loss removed, but the campaign has to be seen as a success. Mozharov was 25-7 just long enough to get the UFC to put pen to paper. Today, according to Fight Finder and Tapology records, he’s 19-12—and getting ready to set foot inside the Octagon this Saturday, June 4th, at UFC Vegas 56 against Alonzo Menifield in Las Vegas, NV. If he can get the win, then it seems likely all will be forgiven in the ‘what have you done for me lately’ world of combat sports. If he can’t? This may just be the only time fans see Mozharov fighting on one of MMA’s most prominent stages.