- Two MMA fighters quarreled on the sidelines of the UFC’s flagship Abu Dhabi event Saturday.
- Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Khamzat Chimaev seemed to patch things up after intervention.
- Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov called them both on video to apparently tell them to stop fighting.
MMA stars Khamzat Chimaev and Abubakar Nurmagomedov brawled cageside after Saturday’s conclusion of UFC 280 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Video footage appears to show Chimaev congratulating Nurmagomedov for his team member’s performance after Islam Makhachev won the UFC lightweight championship for his second-round submission over Charles Oliveira.
MMA Junkie reported Sunday that animosity between the fighters began last year, with Nurmagomedov fuming about comments Chimaev had made regarding his cousin Khabib.
Abubakar even told Chimaev to “be careful” at the time, MMA Junkie said.
Things came to a head Saturday when both athletes were cageside for the UFC’s flagship event in the United Arab Emirates.
The altercation quickly became physical and security had to restrain Chimaev, before eventually removing him from the area.
The fighters have since patched things up, though, as Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov video-called the two fighters and told them to bury their rivalry.
Kadyrov said he ‘personally’ made sure that the fighters buried the hatchet
Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, is a wildly controversial figure in combat sports, as the 46-year-old owns Grozny-based MMA firm Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA) and keeps close ties to combat athletes from his region.
The US Treasury sanctioned Kadyrov in 2020, citing human rights abuses.
The US Treasury said the Kadyrovtsy, which is an organization “under the guidance of Kadyrov,” committed “egregious” activities that included the “kidnapping, torturing, and killing members of the LGBTI population in the Chechen Republic.
“The Kadyrovtsy are accused of illegal abductions, torture, extrajudicial executions, and other abuses, including the detention of journalists and activists,” the statement said.
Kadyrov remains a prevalent and influential figure in mixed martial arts, particularly in Russia and the Middle East. He seemed to use that influence recently to rebuild a more positive relationship between Nurmagomedov and Chimaev.
Kadyrov posted a screenshot of his video call to his Instagram account.
“There is no quarrel between Khamzat Chimaev and Abubakr Nurmagomedov — I have made sure of it personally, and I pass this information on to the ill-wishers,” Kadyrov said.
“Do not blow up this problem of a global scale and do not try to instigate and tease athletes and their fans. This happens, including among brothers. But it was the misunderstanding that was resolved.
“We were and will be brothers, Inshallah. So do not write nonsense, do not take sin to your soul, for every dirty word you will have to answer to the Almighty.”
Abubakar also said publicly that he has moved on
Abubakar, who won his UFC 280 match against Gadzhi Omargadzhiev, said on his own Instagram account that he has moved on from the altercation.
He called the incident “a small understanding” with Chimaev, and added that Khabib led a circle of fighters to intervene and also told them to stop bickering with one another.
“Khamzat is my brother in faith and I always wish him health and success. I ask you, brothers, not to invent any kind of gossip and I hope our meeting will be beneficial between our brotherly peoples.”