Former UFC champions Kamaru Usman, Henry Cejudo, and Justin Gaethje all recently visited Chechnya on invitations from the country's warlord Ramzan Kadyrov.
Bloody Elbow's Karim Zidan reported on the trio's visit last Friday, detailing their visit to the Russian Special Forces University in Gudermes, Chechnya, a private academy dedicated to training Russian solider's for the nation's army. The group of UFC stars was given a tour of the area, before testing out various guns and grenade launchers as seen below, and afterward attended a birthday party for one of Kadyrov's teenage sons.
Former UFC champs Kamaru Usman and Henry Cejudo, along with Justin Gaethje, are all currently in Chechnya at the invitation of the republic's warlord Ramzan Kadyrov.— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) November 25, 2022
Here they are testing out guns at a special forces facility in Gudermes. pic.twitter.com/lJIm8kBHRS
Back in December 2020, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control placed sanctions on Kadyrov and his organization, the Kadyrovtsy, for engaging in serious human rights abuse. They put sanctions on several of Kadyrov's businesses as well, including his MMA gym, Akhmat MMA, and combat sports promotion, Absolute Championship Akhmat. The implications of these penalties prohibit any Americans from interacting with Kadyrov or any of his business, as the statement from the OFAC reads below.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
All three fighters are represented by Dominance MMA founder, Ali Abdelaziz, who represents a plethora of UFC fighters who have been connected with Kadyrov or his companies before. Other notable former champions or stars such as Khabib Nurmagomedov, Khamzat Chimaev, Magomed Ankalaev, Fabricio Werdum, Chris Weidman, Frank Mir, and Frankie Edgar have all made appearances with Kadyrov in the past. The dictator also attended the UFC's Russian debut in Moscow back in September 2018 at UFC Fight Night 136 and was present as well for UFC 242 a year later in Abu Dhabi.
Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov posted a video of former UFC champs Kamaru Usman, Justin Gaethje and Henry Cejudo firing grenade launchers and assault rifles at a special forces facility in Chechnya—a facility that trains Russian soldiers for the country's invasion of Ukraine pic.twitter.com/BxioliBXp4— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) November 27, 2022