A Dagestani MMA fighter has reportedly fled Russia after being drafted to fight in the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this year, Russia began its pursuit of control in Ukraine, starting a war that has since caused Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II and left thousands of soldiers and civilians dead.
Following a series of losses in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization last week, which could see 300,000 reserves called up to fight. The move immediately received widespread criticism, with protests taking place across the nation. The resistance even recently saw the shooting of an enlistment officer at a conscription facility.
As well as protests, which were prevalent in Dagestan this past weekend, a number of military-aged males have begun to flee Russia in order to avoid being forced to fight. That group seemingly includes Marif Piraev, an AMC Fight Nights veteran who boasts a 32-5-1 professional record.
In 2015, sports and political commentator Karim Zidan speculated that Piraev had been conscripted into the Russian army, which is mandatory for all males aged 18-27 and features a 12-month draft.
With that past experience in mind, “Piranha” was seemingly one of the thousands called into action following Russia’s mobilization, which marked the country’s first since the second world war.
According to Shamil Gamilov, a professional fighter also hailing from Dagestan, Piraev was summoned by the army and called to register at an enlistment office. Answering questions on an Instagram Live session, Gamilov revealed that his fellow fighter had ignored the draft notice and fled to Georgia.
“Marif received a summons, he fled Russia in horror,” Galimov said (h/t Bloody Elbow)
MMA Fighter Piraev Recently Fought For AMC Gold
Piraev made his professional debut back in 2011. The Dagestani found quick success in the cage, forging an unbeaten 17-0-1 record across his first 18 outings.
“Piranha” suffered his first defeat in pro MMA in 2015 at KSW 32, held at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London, England. At the event, Piraev was stopped via TKO in round two against current fast-rising UFC lightweight Mateusz Gamrot.
Piraev recently returned to MMA action in June following a pair of boxing successes under the Hype FC banner earlier this year. In a barnburner against AMC Lightweight Champion Nariman Abbasov, the 29-year-old fell short of winning the belt after his corner threw in the towel ahead of the third round.
Per a Bloody Elbow report, Piraev was being lined up to face Shovkhal Churchaev at a cross-promotional event between Hype FC and GFC. Churchaev has also been in the headlines recently after he pulled a gun on a rival during a podcast appearance.
Piraev is seemingly not the only high-profile Russian MMA fighter to be called up to fight in Ukraine. It’s also been reported that the promotion’s middleweight titleholder, Vladimir Mineev, has been conscripted.
Unlike Piraev, Mineev answered his summons, telling Match TV that he’s “not going to run.”
“I’m not going to run. I take a conscription notice, go to the enlistment office and then as the Motherland decides. I fall under the first category, I am a paratrooper, I served in the draft and on contract. There aren’t many paratroopers left, I guess.” (h/t Championat)
What do you make of Marif Piraev’s decision to flee Russia?