PETA described the recently resurfaced footage of Khabib Nurmagomedov wrestling a brown pair as "loathsome" and urged the UFC to act.
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has urged the UFC to "evaluate its relationship" with Khabib Nurmagomedov after footage resurfaced of the Russian wrestling a chained-up bear.
- Numerous clips of Nurmagomedov fighting the brown bear have surfaced since he beat Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 on Saturday.
- "Wrestling with a chained bear is loathsome behavior that shows an utter lack of respect for and consideration of who these animals are," PETA UK Director Elisa Allen told Business Insider.
- The UFC lightweight champion is said to have wrestled the bear for training as a child and has continued to meet and spar with his "old friend" in recent years.
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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has urged the UFC to "evaluate its relationship" with Khabib Nurmagomedov after "loathsome" footage resurfaced of the Russian wrestling a chained-up bear.
Numerous clips of Nurmagomedov fighting with a bear he describes as his "old friend" have surfaced on social media since the mixed martial artist beat Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 on Saturday.
In three videos — one from when he was a child, and two that were posted on his and his trainer's Instagram accounts in 2014 and 2019 — Nurmagomedov can be seen grappling and pulling the brown bear by its neck and arms while it's muzzled and chained to the ground by a steel collar.
A post shared by Khabib Nurmagomedov (@khabib_nurmagomedov) on May 5, 2014 at 3:28am PDT
"PETA encourages the UFC to evaluate its relationship with Mr. Nurmagomedov until he shows a clear change in attitude and a commitment to showing animals the respect that they deserve," PETA UK Director Elisa Allen told Business Insider.
"Wrestling with a chained bear is loathsome behavior that shows an utter lack of respect for and consideration of who these animals are.
"In the wild, bears roam across vast territories, foraging, swimming, digging in the dirt, climbing trees, searching for a mate, and expressing other essential, natural types of behavior.
"Those used in Russia for 'boxing,' 'dancing,' or other archaic forms of entertainment are typically torn from their mothers as cubs, chained, caged, muzzled, beaten, and deprived of everything that's meaningful to them."
Allen concluded: "PETA urges Mr. Nurmagomedov to stick to wrestling with willing human opponents."
Nurmagomedov's relationship with the bear seen in the footage reportedly goes back a long way.
The UFC champion's father and coach, Abdulmanap, told the Russian website ToFight in 2015 that he used to make his son wrestle the bear as a "test of character" when he was just 9 years old.
—Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) September 8, 2019
Nurmagomedov has confirmed the unusual training method, telling Combate.com in 2014, according to Bloody Elbow, that "it was a secret video, and I do not know how that got on the internet."
He has continued to meet and spar with the bear in recent years, posting photos and videos alongside his chained-up "friend from childhood."
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Nurmagomedov defended his UFC lightweight championship in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, beating Poirier by submission.
The Russian is expected to face either Tony Ferguson or Conor McGregor in his next fight, which could take place in Africa early next year.
UFC representatives did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.