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Pussy Riot is still in a Russian prison, but an MMA champion accused of murder has been released

Pussy Riot is still in a Russian prison, but an MMA champion accused of murder has been released

My grandparents realized Russia was doomed in the 1970’s when they fled the continent. I never believed the entirety of their experiences of what it was like living in a communist country, but the more Russians I speak to, the more they mirror the same stories of widespread corruption, political uncertainty, and moral values equivalent to a pet rock. It makes it hard to believe that a calm, collected guy like Fedor ever made the sport of MMA popular in Russia considering that he doesn’t fit the criteria of a badass in any aspect of his personality, only in his power and dominance of the heavyweight division while he competed. While most political issues in Russia can be solved with Fedor’s right hand, not even the last emperor can fix this mess.

The latest controversy from the motherland comes in the form of an MMA fighter, Rasul Mirzaev, who was a Sambo world champion scheduled to fight in Bellator before being incarcerated approximately two years ago. He was recently freed from prison after being convicted of killing a student outside of a nightclub in Moscow. According to witnesses, it was a single punch that caused the victim to fall and bump his head on a drain cover. While it’s unclear whether the punch or the fall killed 19 year old Ivan Agafonov, murder charges were ultimately dropped in a series of trial delays and plea bargains. Mirzaev instead plead guilty to ‘death by negligence’ which carries a maximum two year prison term, thereby authorizing a release based on time already served.

Upon hearing the verdict, the victim’s mother subsequently suffered a heart attack while the victim’s father stormed out of the courtroom before the sentence was read out in its entirety. The case captivated Russia and continues to focus debates on relations between ethnic Russians and members of the North Caucasus, many of whom, including Mirzaev, have moved to Moscow since the time of the Soviet Union. Ethnic-Russian nationalists protested outside the court, several of whom were arrested for trying to sneak into the courtroom.

This marks another chapter of ethnic tensions escalating in Russia, and independent journalists are fearing reoccurring riots from this court ruling, similar to an incident that lacked adequate persecution from 2010; where a Russian soccer fan was killed by a member of the same ethnic group. Authorities are preemptively closing public squares and preparing for protests and possible hostile retaliation.

There’s much more to this story, but it’s probably going to unfold in the days to come. We’re not sure if he will still be eligible to compete in Bellator. He wouldn’t be the first person with a criminal record competing in MMA, but we doubt that parent company, Viacom, will undertake the PR nightmare of employing a convicted killer. For the sake of all our favorite Russian athletes, and humanity as a whole, we hope the violence doesn’t escalate any more than it already has. Props to Ted M. for the find. [Source]

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