In MMA, changing sports citizenship is an extremely rare and not the most discussed phenomenon. Among professionals, national team tournaments are not held, and many fighters even consider themselves to belong to several countries at once. Thus, Valentina Shevchenko entered the fights with the flags of Kyrgyzstan and Peru, Aljamain Sterling - the USA and Jamaica, two countries are actually represented by Israel Adesanya, a native of Nigeria, who moved to New Zealand at a young age.
Against this background, the situation with Khamzat Chimaev stands apart, who, after many years of playing for Sweden, chose to defend the colors of the UAE. The athlete’s manager, Maidi Shammas, informed the SVT portal about this decision. According to him, the 29-year-old athlete left Scandinavia a few weeks ago and moved to the Middle East. However, he did not specify why he took such a step.
It is possible that the reason for this was a series of incidents with the public burning of the Koran in Sweden. Since the beginning of the year, several similar actions have been held in the country, which caused an angry reaction from Muslims. Nevertheless, the authorities refused to intervene in this situation in any way and did not introduce a ban on the public destruction of sacred religious books, as they did in Denmark.
The change of citizenship will obviously affect Chimaev’s training process. The fighter has already published a photo with the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, from the Akhmat MMA gym, where he may well settle down. After all, now we can’t count on returning to the Stockholm Allstars. Thus, he will prepare for the upcoming battle with Paulo Costa under new conditions. And it will be extremely interesting to see how this will affect his performance.