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Children’s MMA fights in Russia to be probed on October 18 — official

October 11, 20:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Chechnya’s capital of Grozny hosted on October 4 an MMA tournament featuring fights between children among the bouts of professional fighters
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© EPA/BARBARA WALTON

MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. A specially set-up working group within the Russian Sports Ministry will officially inquire into the recent case of under-age children’s participation in the mixed martial arts tournament last week in Chechnya starting on October 18, Deputy Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov told TASS on Tuesday.

"We have received the documentation and set up a working group within the sports ministry," Kolobkov said in an interview with TASS. "The session of the group will be held on October 18 and we are inviting the sports minister (of Chechnya) to settle the issue."

Chechnya’s capital of Grozny hosted on October 4 an MMA tournament, Grand Prix Akhmat 2016, featuring fights between children among the bouts of professional fighters. Three of the children were sons of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov - 10-year-old Akhmad, 9-year-old Zelimkhan and 8-year-old Adam.

Three of them were fighting with opponents of the same age and won the fights, while Akhmad managed to beat his opponent, Damir Shevkhuzhev from Sochi, with a knock-out on the 14th second of the fight.

Last Wednesday, President of Russian MMA Union and renowned fighter Fedor Emelianenko denounced mixed martial arts fights of children in Grozny saying it was "inadmissible and, moreover, cannot be justified."

In his October 5 statement, Emelianenko, who boasts a record of 36 wins and 4 losses and is dubbed as ‘The Last Emperor,’ said in particular that "Participation in the fights on a par with adults may result in irrecoverable harm to the health of children and it will not only put an end to their sports career, but will also inflict both physical and psychological damages."

In line with the regulations of the Russian MMA Union, only children of age over 12 can be allowed taking part in the fights. Participants within the age groups of 12-13, 14-15 and 16-17 are obliged to wear rash guards (an athletic shirt made of spandex and nylon or polyester) and protective ammunitions.

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