Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov is known as a dictator, strongman, and an ally of Russia’s Vladmir Putin. Kadyrov is also a big fan of mixed martial arts. Kadyrov is the subject of a profile in the latest edition of HBO’s Real Sports, during which he discussed his own fight league, Akhmat MMA, boasting that he “wants to show the world that we have the best fighters.”
He rarely does interviews with western journalists and Real Sports’ David Scott had to go to Chechnya twice in an attempt to speak with Kadyrov.
In the profile, Kadyrov issued a rather blood thirsty challenge to UFC. A tournament that would be unlike any other.
“We propose that UFC and Akhmat face off in a tournament,” Kadyrov said. “And we’ll see who has the strongest fighters. I think it would be quite a spectacle. They would fight to the end. A fight to the death.”
Believing that Chechens are tougher because they grew up fighting in wars, Kadyrov tells Real Sports that “We will bring all your American MMA belts back to Grozny,” which is the capital of Chechnya.
The country was ravaged by war and Kadyrov was a soldier in Chechnya’s army when he was 15. He said, “I love to fight. I was born and raised in war.” And he added that dying in battle would be his “greatest joy.”
Under Kadyrov’s rule, there’s no dissent allowed and opposition press is banned. The country’s human rights record is reported to be spotty, but Kadyrov boasts to Real Sports that Chechnya couldn’t be more democratic.
We have a couple of clips from the profile. First on Kadyrov’s MMA league:
And in this clip, Scott asks Kadyrov about the treatment of gays, but the strongman denies that there are any living in Chechnya:
This isn’t the first time Kadyrov was on HBO. Last year, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver skewered the dictator over his Instagram account and losing his cat:
Real Sports airs on HBO Tuesday at 10 PM ET/PT with various replays throughout the next few weeks.