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Sean O’Malley claims to have turned down Ramzan Kadyrov invite to Chechnya: ‘The guy is a murderer’

Jake Paul v Anderson Silva Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Sean O’Malley is all about the money, but not at the cost of his morals.

In November, three former UFC champions — Kamaru Usman, Henry Cejudo, and Justin Gaethje — were heavily criticized for accepting an invitation from Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadryov to visit Chechnya and attend a birthday party for one of Karyrov’s teenage sons. And according to O’Malley, he was given a similar offer, but chose not to pursue it.

“The reason we never really ended up going [to Chechnya] is because we were saying like, who is this for? And then we didn’t really get an answer,” O’Malley said in a recent video on his YouTube channel (h/t Bloody Elbow). “So, I’m like, ‘F*** that!’ Imran [Jawaid, one of O’Malley’s business advisors], you know, I listen to Imran’s advice and Imran was like, ‘Hey, I don’t have a good feeling about this. Let’s not move forward with that.’”

O’Malley’s caution is not without merit. In 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury levied sanctions on Kadyrov for “serious human rights abuses.” The sanctions prohibit people doing business in the United States from interacting with many businesses owned by Kadyrov, including his MMA gym, but has not stopped several prominent MMA fighters from continuing to associate with him. O’Malley is proud not to be one of them.

“They went over to Chechnya,” O’Malley said, referring to Usman, Cejudo, and Gaethje. “And the guy [Kadyrov] is a murderer, basically. The top dog. Like, best friends with [Vladimir] Putin. He’s not a good person, and that’s who they went there, to his kid’s birthday party. And, that’s where I got invited to go. And, yeah, I’ve heard that they’re getting some backlash for going.”

While neither Usman nor Cejudo have publicly commented on the incident, Gaethje has defended his actions online, saying that while he did attend a birthday party and shoot guns at the Russian Special Forces University, he never actually met Kadyrov.

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