MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. American mixed martial artist Jeffrey Monson is a well-known figure in the world of sports, which was the reason for granting him Russian citizenship, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Monson would become a Russian national only after taking the citizenship oath.
"I would like to point out that according to our legislation, he will finally get citizenship once he takes the oath. This is what the law requires and the requirement should be fulfilled," Peskov told reporters. According to him, Monson "has gone through all the procedures, applying for citizenship in accordance with the established rules."
"He is a rather well-known person in the world of his sports, moreover, he is world famous, which was the reason for granting citizenship to him," Peskov said, adding that "this sort of practice exists in many countries."
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier signed a decree granting Monson citizenship. The document was published on the official website containing legal information on Tuesday.
Jeffry William Monson, nicknamed The Snowman, hails from Minnesota, US. He has so far held 85 fights as a mixed martial artist, chalking up 60 victories. Likewise, he is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion.
Monson is known for his love of Russia and its Soviet past and began many of his fights to the Soviet anthem’s tune. In 2016, the athlete was awarded the title of Honorary citizen of Abkhazia, while in 2017 he was granted citizenship and a passport of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic.
Before Monson, many other foreign athletes were given Russian citizenship, including American boxer Roy Jones Jr. and South Korean short track speed skating Olympic champion Viktor Ahn. In 2017, a citizenship oath ceremony was introduced in Russia.