The Chechen owned Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) has publicly denounced the massive sports brand, Nike, on social media and turned down its sponsorship.
ACB is one of the most exciting up and coming MMA promotion from the Russian Federation. Mairbek Khasiev, ACB Chechen owner who personally funds the promotion has been the center of attention for crude comments on more than one occasion. Coming from an environment that requires harsh racism and homophobia beliefs, he believes the company Nike is below their dignity due to the support of LGBTQ, or lesbian, gay, bisexual transsexual and queer rights.
Khasiev used the anti-gay comment :
“Women were created for men and men for women. Do you see animals mating with the same sex? If we allow gay marriage, a man worse than an animal”, by the famous Pilipino professional boxer, Manny Pacquiao, as basis for his rejection of Nike. The statement led the sports company to break off all sponsorship to Pacquiao, which didn’t sit well with the Chechen. He went further to support his claim by saying “Sometimes the devil is afraid of the thoughts within a f****t’s head”.
Not only Anti-homosexual
Unfortunately this is not the first time the opinions and personal beliefs of Khasiev negatively affect the promising MMA promotion. The event of ACB 59 which was to take place in Vladikackaz, North Ossetia, had to be cancelled after alleged racist comments referring Ossentians as “Iranian Jews”. It led to potential increase in political tension in the North Caucasus neighboring republics which share borders with Chechnya. The Ossetian fighters refused to take part in the show and the event had to be shut down to prevent conflict. Some of the Ossentian fighters even drove to meet Khasiev to attempt to get him to make a public apology and help neutralize the tension, but the owner would not.
Mairbek Khasiev On the UFC
Khasiev has also accused the Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) of not having any values and only chasing money. The promotion also only focuses on those that are marketable, not just pure talent. Money is a belief system too. The Chechen is however confident and proud of the fact that he holds his views strongly and won’t wavier in front of money.
This makes a valid point. People that disown and ignore their own beliefs for the sake of money is just as harsh as those with racism and bigotry running through their veins. We in a world where people sacrifice human life to make money, for example human trafficking, massacres, bankrupting the U.S economy which effected the world economy, and let’s not forget invasion of territories for such things like Oil.
Public beliefs In the Arab World
In the world of MMA, a male dominated testosterone filled sport, men fight shirtless only in shorts. Not only do these athletes partake in striking but also grappling; body on body up close and personal, ground work. How many of the fighters would be alright knowing that their opponent is a homosexual, and how many people react negatively? Yet whatever ones sexual preference is, it does not have anything to do with fighting ability. One’s political views or prejudice might. Where political tensions are high, the likely hood of massive crowd fights is high if comments were to be made. Though when it comes to combat sport, no two people fight as hard and with as much rage when they hold true hatred towards the person in front of them.
Should personal beliefs and opinions come into sports? Probably not. Sport is a way to bind people from different nationalities, religions, and should sexual preferences to. For an owner of a promotion to publicly denounce a company because it is pro-gay, gives rise to potential issues. Turning down the opportunities for its fighters to receive sponsorship because of personal belief may not sit well on long run.
In the Arab world, if political views or prejudice were to be as blatantly verbalized as Khasiev when it comes to sport, there could be a major problem, whether MMA or Basketball. With so many different sects and religions, very few events would occur. With very strict laws on sexuality and norms to abide by, again very few events would occur if those norms were to be broken. Not all arenas permit female audience members as like not all arenas have issues with women in sexy outfits of ring girls. When in a different country, you should respect the culture you are in, no matter what yours is. No matter what the owners or those involved personally believe, perhaps it should be left out of sports. Keep the sport as a sport and leave everything else at the door.
ABOUT Absolute Championship Berkut ( ACB )
ACB is a Russian MMA promotion well known around Europe. The promotion created in 2014 by Khasiev, has held 77 events predominately around Europe, and has signed various former UFC fighter; Takeya Mizugaki, Luke Barnatt, Zach Makovsky and Elvis Mutapcic, Bellator vet Bubba Jenkins, and recently Albert Tumenov is said to join the club.