‘I can’t fight my Muslim brothers’: Russian MMA fighter cites religion as he gives up title

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Russian MMA fighter Rinat Fakhredtinov has refused to defend his Gorilla Fighting Championship belt, explaining that he cannot face ‘Muslim brothers’ in the cage.

The promotion confirmed middleweight Fakhredtinov’s stance, adding that they had received an exhaustive explanation regarding his motives.

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I don’t fight against my brothers due to my religious beliefs. Now the belt contenders are Faridun Odilov and Dauren Ermekov. They are Muslim and I don’t fight against my brothers,” Fakhredtinov was quoted as saying.

A fight is fight, you need to be fully focused entering the cage. I’m a fighter. I cannot beat my brothers at full strength, and I don’t want to play the fool in the cage and punch somebody in the face. To be fair I need to perform against any opponent chosen by the league. But I can’t do it due to my religious motives,” the fighter added.

The 28-year-old outlined, however, that he doesn’t plan to retire, adding that he “gave up the belt not to betray his fundamental beliefs.”

Fakhredtinov noted that could return to the cage in the near future if his opponent is not Muslim.

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