Social Media

Floyd Mayweather Hung Out With Chechnya’s Dictator

Seems about right

Social Media
Getty Images
Mar 17, 2017 at 12:25 PM ET

Floyd Mayweather Jr., unrepentant domestic abuser and misogynist, hawker of tacky, overpriced merch, and—for the moment—retired and undefeated boxer, was paid a great deal of money to make an appearance in a brand new boxing school in Russia, before jetting off to hang around with a brutal dictator, as one does.

He’s been gallivanting around the world of late as part of his “Undefeated” promotional tour, bringing an actual tiger along for the ride for some reason. In Birmingham, England, his tour van was set on fire and on Thursday, he was in Zhukovka, an affluent suburb of Moscow, to hype the opening of his TMT Boxing Academy. In exchange for gracing the gym with his presence, he was reportedly paid $86,500. While there, he received an invitation to drop in for a visit from Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic and a murderous tyrant.


Mayweather was pictured dining in Kadyrov’s palace, as well as at various landmarks around the Chechen Republic. He even took selfies with Kadyrov, a controversial figure with a long list of human rights abuses to his name.

According to Kadyrov’s Instagram account, Mayweather accompanied him to the Akhmat-Arena in Grozny and watched a few boxers and MMA fighters spar, yakking it up with the locals and doling out a few tips

“He highly appreciated the conditions created for the development of martial arts in Chechnya,” Kadyrov wrote, adding that everything was quite pleasant for Mayweather.

“Floyd,” he continued, now that the two are great pals and on a first-name basis and everything, “intends to make a repeated visit to the republic and invite a team of boxing trainers and MMA from the United States. I hope that our cooperation will be long-term and productive.”

Дорогие друзья! В Чечню по моему приглашению прибыл чемпион мира в пяти весовых категориях, легенда бокса, не знающий горечь поражений Флойд Мейвезер. Вместе с гостем мы посетили многофункциональный спорткомплекс клуба “Ахмат” в Гудермесе. Мейвезер ознакомился с тренировочным процессом, посмотрел показательные выступления боксеров и бойцов ММА, пообщался со спортсменами. Он высоко оценил условия, созданные для развития единоборств в Чечне. Гость остался под приятным впечатлением от общения с людьми и увиденной в Грозном, Гудермесе и Аргуне картины. Флойд намерен совершить в республику повторный визит и пригласить команду тренеров по боксу и ММА из США. Надеюсь, что наше сотрудничество будет носить долгосрочный и продуктивный характер. Уверен, опыт такого великого спортсмена будет бесценен для воспитанников клуба “Ахмат”. #Кадыров #Россия #Чечня #Бокс #Мейвезер #ММА

A post shared by Ramzan Kadyrov (@kadyrov_95) on

Oh, and there’s this. The gent driving Mayweather around once threated the president of the Russian MMA Union, Fedor Emelianenko, following Kadyrov’s decision to let his 11-year old kid compete in an MMA fight. But this is hardly the first time Kadyrov has cozied up to combat sports stars in order to burnish his image. As Felix Biederman reported at Vocativ, Kadyrov, an often flailing and grimly comic Putinist stooge, has embraced the sport for purely political reasons. For all of Kadyrov’s foibles of conspicuous consumption and alleged political violence, the reason he hosts these events and associates himself so closely with the larger MMA world is quite ordinary. The use of MMA in his public image is well-crafted retail politics. That is to say, Kadyrov is using the age-old political tactics of focusing on local events and activities that rely on cultural signifiers and shibboleths unique to his political landscape. It may seem like a mundane answer given his past, but every (alleged) warlord with a lifespan as long as Kadyrov’s is a gifted retail politician who engages more violently than their pallid Western counterparts (if you count Predator missile strikes and F-16 air assaults as notwithstanding). When it comes to Mayweather, he isn’t what you’d call an activist or even a politically-aware athlete. It makes you wonder why he’d let himself be used as a cheap political prop. Maybe he just likes having his picture taken with dictators.