Ramzan Kadyrov is one of the most powerful people in Russia. He’s been the leader of Chechnya since 2007. Guring his reign, he’s been accused of a litany of war crimes, including widespread torture. The dictator is also a known MMA enthusiast, which we’ve written about extensively in the past, and his close ties to mixed martial arts stars are probably effective at building his reputation in one of the most MMA-crazed parts of the world.
His latest MMA-centric stunt: Staging a fight between children. During a nationally televised fight card yesterday in Russia, he had three of his sons participate in full fights against children their age. The fights were just like professional MMA fights. The children even entered to music.
The sons in question are 11, 10, and nine years old, all far too young to take part in full MMA bouts. Russian MMA fighter Fedor Emilianenko condemned Kadyrov for the fights:
“What happened at the tournament in Grozny is unacceptable and, moreover, cannot be justified,” said Emelianenko, who heads the Russian MMA Union. “There were little ones, eight years old, punching each other in front of happy adults. Is it really so important for you to organize a spectacle at the cost of children’s health?!”
It was “incomprehensible to me” that state TV showed children’s fights, he added.
Emilianenko then said that any fighters under 21 should wear protective headgear while fighting, which makes sense given that the human brain doesn’t stop physically developing until age 25.