The planned visit of Khabib Nurmagomedov, former Russian UFC lightweight to Abkhazia has been canceled due to sanction threats from the U.S. and Georgia, Sokhumi-based Apsnypress news agency reported. Nurmagomedov planned to hold a masterclass for local young athletes and to meet Abkhaz leadership.
Apsnypress cited based on May 29 Nurmagomedov’s manager Rizvan Magomedov that the cancellation of June 1 visit is connected to “sanction pressure from the U.S. and Georgia, as well as direct threats of annulling American visa.” The manager was also cited as saying that Nurmagomedov would be under threat of terminating sports activities in the UFC (American MMA promotion company) and terminating contracts in the U.S.
Following the news, Aruaa, an influential group of Abkhaz war veterans, called on “brotherly nations of North Caucasus, especially sportsmen, and all people of goodwill around the world” to raise their voice against the “cynicism and obscurantism” coming from Tbilisi.
The Georgian Law on Occupied Territories, adopted in 2008, bans unauthorized entry into Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia from the Russian side. Based on this law, Georgia could have legally addressed the U.S, Nurmagomedov’s country of employment, to impose appropriate restrictions on the Russian athlete.