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SOCHI, September 16. /TASS/. The Kremlin pledged to consider a Russian citizenship application from titled American MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter Jeff Monson, but the final decision will be made by President Vladimir Putin, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
Asked whether the Kremlin received a citizenship application from Monson, Peskov told journalists "we do have the application," adding that the American fighter repeatedly "spoke in the past about his intention to submit such application."
"It [the application] will be definitely considered, but the further and the final decision is up to the president," Peskov said.
The Russian presidential spokesman added that on the whole Monson "is known for his sympathies towards our country."
Monson, 44, announced last year that he submitted documents to become a citizen of Russia and upon his visit to Moscow this June he asked Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), to help him with obtaining the Russian citizenship.
Igor Lebedev, a vice speaker of the Russian parliament’s lower house and the chairman of LDPR Supreme Council told TASS on Tuesday that Monson hoped to obtain the Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure.
"We have met with representatives of the presidential administration and they are in favor of this issue," Lebedev said on Tuesday night. "I believe that the issue will get a positive response and he [Monson] will be issued it [the citizenship] under a simplified procedure."
Nicknamed ‘The Snowman’ and boasting a record of 78 fights (55 wins, 22 losses, 1 draw) Monson was born in Olympia, the state of Washington, on January 18, 1971. The American fighter is the two-time winner of the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, and a No Gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu World Champion.
Among numerous tattoos on his body, Monson sports two tattoos in Russian saying ‘svoboda’ (freedom) and ‘solidarnost’ (solidarity). Tattoos of Hammer and Sickle (a symbol of former Soviet Union) a red and black star are also inked on Monson’s body.
In one of Moscow tattoo salons earlier this year, Monson made a tattoo running up the whole length of his left thigh with the image of Russia’s world-famous monument, The Motherland Calls. The monument, located on the Mamayev Kurgan in the Russian city of Volgograd, was erected to commemorate the heroic feat of the Soviet soldiers in one of the bloodiest WWII battles known as the Battle of Stalingrad.
If granted the Russian citizenship, Monson will be the second well-known US fighter to become the citizen of Russia this year.
Last Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin granted citizenship to US legendary boxer Roy Jones Jr.
The boxer met the Russian president on August 19 in Crimea’s Sevastopol and told Putin he wanted to become a Russian citizen. Putin agreed to assist if the boxer connects his future life with Russia. On August 20 in Yalta (Crimea), the boxer filed an application for the Russian citizenship.