In the wake of Khamzat Chimaev’s dominant submission victory against Kevin Holland in the UFC 279 co-main event, the Chechen fighter is being celebrated by some of the most dangerous and controversial men in Russia.
Among the first to congratulate Chimaev following his performance on Saturday night was Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen dictator accused of well-documented human rights abuses, including forced disappearances, torture, summary executions and an ongoing purge of Chechnya’s LGBTQ+ community.
The dictator posted a series of short videos from Chimaev’s fight along with the phrase “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.
Hours later, Kadyrov shared a second post on his official VKontakte account, adding that “Chimaev absolutely does not worry about his weight, but he does not stand on ceremony with other categories either. He just goes out, wins, dictates his conditions in the octagon and puts things in order.”
Kadyrov’s children, both of whom compete in unsanctioned youth MMA fights as part of Kadyrov’s dynastic propaganda displays, also shared congratulatory posts on Instagram.
Others who reveled in Chimaev’s success include Adam Delimkhanov, a Chechen politician and military commander who is currently involved in the Siege of Mariupol during Russia’s war on Ukraine. Delimkhanov posted highlights of Chimaev’s fight on Telegram along with a lengthy message congratulating his “dear brother” on his victory.
“Last night, Khamzat defeated Kevin Holland, an American opponent with lightning speed,” Delimkhanov said. “Now Borz’s record is 12 fights and 12 wins. Brilliant result! In the fight with Holland, Khamzat imposed his game from the first seconds, tied the opponent for two minutes, until he went to the choke. Of course, the entire Chechen Republic and Russia were rooting for our compatriot.”
Elsewhere, Akhmed Dudayev, the Chechen minister for national policy and foreign relations, posted a picture of himself standing beside Chimaev on Telegram and noted that the UFC fighter’s “main fan, the Head of the Chechen Republic, the Hero of Russia, my dear BROTHER Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov highly appreciates his human qualities and desire for victory!”
It is worth noting that while Kadyrov, Delimkhanov, and the Akhmat MMA fight club are currently facing U.S. Treasury sanctions, Chimaev continues to associate with these entities on a regular basis.