MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. American-born mixed martial artist Jeffrey Monson is grateful to Russia for granting him citizenship, as he himself told TASS.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree granting Monson citizenship.
"Today I am very happy. Why? Because today I became a Russian. Thanks a lot, Russia," Monson said in Russian.
Jeffrey 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.