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14 Sep, 2023 07:53

US-born MMA legend wins in Russian regional elections

Jeff Monson renounced his American citizenship in February over Washington’s foreign policy
US-born MMA legend wins in Russian regional elections

American-born mixed martial arts fighter Jeff Monson has become an elected member of the Kurultai, the local parliament in Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan.

Monson was fifth on the United Russia Party’s list in the regional election, which took place on September 10. The country’s ruling party ended up winning 87 of the 110 seats in the legislature following the vote.

On Wednesday, the 52-year-old heavyweight fighter, who continues his sporting career, confirmed to TASS news agency that he’s now a member of the Kurultai.

For several years, Monson has been living in Bashkortostan, a Muslim-majority region of 4 million people, located between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains. In 2021, he opened a Jiu-jitsu and grappling school in the republic’s main city of Ufa.

In February, the athlete renounced his US citizenship, explaining that he disagreed with Washington’s foreign policy. The Americans “interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and people suffer because of this,” he said.

Monson attained dual citizenship in 2018, when he was granted a Russian passport by the decree of President Vladimir Putin. He’s been a long-time admirer of Russian and Soviet culture, famously saying in an interview with RT that he has a “Russian soul.”

Several months after getting his Russian citizenship, the fighter, nicknamed ‘the Snowman,’ was elected as an MP to the Council of Deputies of the Krasnogorsk district in Moscow Region.

After winning the United Russia primaries in Bashkortostan this May, Monson revealed that his eventual goal was to become a member of the Russian parliament, the State Duma. “I want to help people in Russia with their problems, to deal with major issues. In the State Duma, I’ll have enough powers to help people,” he explained.

The then-American athlete became famous in the country after facing Russia’s Fedor Emelianenko, considered to be one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time, at a packed Olimpiysky Arena in Moscow in 2011. Despite suffering a leg fracture, Monson survived all three rounds against The Last Emperor, losing by unanimous decision.

Monson currently has an MMA record of 61 wins, 26 losses, and two draws. He is a former challenger for the UFC heavyweight title, a two-time ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship winner, and a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu world champion.