Gadzhimurad Kagirov, an MMA fighter among the 5 militants killed in Dagestan

Who Is Gadzhimurad Kagirov ?MMA Fighter Turned Terrorist

On Sunday, gunmen executed a coordinated assault on churches and synagogues in two cities within Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s southern region.

Gadzhimurad Kagirov, an MMA fighter associated with Khabib Nurmagomedov and his late father Abdulmanap, was among the militants killed after a terror attack in Dagestan.

Gadzhimurad Kagirov, an MMA
Gadzhimurad Kagirov, an MMA

The attackers set fire to a synagogue after fatally shooting the police officers guarding it. Additionally, they executed a Russian priest and attacked multiple police posts, leading to the deaths of at least 15 law enforcement officers. The total number of civilian casualties is still unknown.

Who was Gadzhimurad Kagirov the militant killed in Dagestan?

Gadzhimurad Kagirov, was a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter affiliated with former UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov and his late father Abdulmanap.

Gadzhimurad Kagirov, 28, was a master of sport (an honorary title for successful athletes in Russia) in freestyle wrestling who transitioned to professional MMA under the coaching of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. He accumulated a 2-0 pro record while representing Khabib’s Eagle MMA fight club, a training facility founded by jailed Dagestani oligarch Ziyavudin Magomedov.

Russian Oligarch Ziyavudin Magomedov funded Dagestan Militants

Magomedov was known for financially supporting several prominent Dagestani fighters, including Khabib Nurmagomedov. The former oligarch funded the majority of Nurmagomedov’s training camp expenses and paid for his back surgery in 2017. He also launched a series of combat sports training facilities called Eagles MMA, which became home to some of Russia’s top talent. Khabib Nurmagomedov served as the entity’s president for several years, while his father, Abdulmanap, was the head coach.

Russian Oligarch Ziyavudin Magomedov’s Legal Troubles:

  • In a major crackdown on wealthy Russians, Magomedov was arrested in 2018 alongside his brother on embezzlement charges. He maintains his innocence, claiming the arrest was politically motivated.
  • Magomedov was convicted in 2022 of stealing over $179 million from the Russian government.
  • This isn’t the only controversy surrounding Magomedov. In 2018, an executive from his Eagles MMA club was accused of trying to murder a rival fighter.

Islamic extremism and its infiltration into sports in Dagestan

Islamic extremism is a growing concern within combat sports in the North Caucasus, specifically Dagestan and Ingushetia.

  • Evidence:
    • Recent terror attack involving MMA fighter Zelimkhan Kagirov.
    • 2014 concerns raised by Dagestani deputy Sports Minister.

Irony: Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Kagirov’s former coach, actively opposed extremism.

  • He used combat sports to provide alternatives for Dagestani youth (documented by you in 2016).

Khabib’s Actions Raise Questions:

  • Despite his father’s efforts, Khabib Nurmagomedov has made concerning choices:
    • Posed with a wanted terrorist suspect, Sagid Murtazaliev, after a fight.
    • Publicly criticized nightclubs and provocative performances, leading to threats from his followers.
Khabib Nurmagomedov alongside Sagid Murtazaliev in Dubai
Khabib Nurmagomedov alongside Sagid Murtazaliev in Dubai

James Buxton

James Buxton - Undercover Champion James isn't your flashy headline chaser. He's a meticulous investigative journalist known for his relentless pursuit of the truth, one painstaking detail at a time. James thrives on combing through public records, chasing down obscure leads, and building a case brick by brick. His dogged determination exposed a local politician's web of financial corruption hidden within years of dry budget reports. James 's work rarely makes the evening news, but it delivers impactful change through legal action and policy reform. He's a hero for those who value the power of slow and steady investigative journalism.

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