'You're a prostitute': Khabib 'likes' Instagram message attacking Russian UFC veteran Oleg Taktarov as feud intensifies
Emelianenko - brother of MMA legend Fedor - posted an expletive-laden Instagram video this week in which he laid into Taktarov over comments about the Southern Russian region, which includes Khabib's Dagestani homeland and neighboring Chechnya.
“I was sent a video where Taktarov speaks unflattering about the Caucasian people," Emelianenko begins in the clip.
"What can I say? Taktarov, you're a prostitute. When you came to the Caucasus, you were met, fed, and were given attention.
"You left here happy. The fact that you have disagreements with certain people doesn't mean that the whole of the Caucasus is bad.
"We have a lot of people who don't like you. They write to me in plain language, saying that you're a condom [scumbag]. I absolutely agree with them after this video."
The post - which has been viewed more than 425,000 times - was 'liked' by Khabib and younger cousin Umar Nurmagomedov, potentially indicating their own thoughts towards Taktarov and his recent statements.
The row in Russian MMA circles erupted at the weekend when Taktarov fumed at suggestions that Khabib was his country's first ever UFC champion - an honor Taktarov lays claim to having won an eight-man tournament at UFC 6 back in 1995.
The fight veteran-turned-Hollywood actor branded people "fools" and "monkeys" fordisputing his status as Russia's first UFC king, while controversially accusing a "Wahhabi from the Tsumadinsky district [in Dagestan]" as spreading that notion.Also on rt.com 'If one Wahhabi called him the first champ, why do fools believe it?' Ex-UFC star Taktarov questions Khabib's credentials
That led to suggestions in the Russian press that Taktarov was linking Khabib himself to the radical branch of Islam, although the 52-year-old later distanced himself from those claims, insisting he maintains a good relationship with the UFC lightweight champion while accusing members of Khabib's team of attempting to stir up trouble.
However, Taktarov appeared to dig himself an even deeper hole when he seemed to bad-mouth parts of Khabib's home region, saying: “I’ll go anywhere in Dagestan, but not to Makhachkala [the capital]. I didn’t like it there. There's some kind of disrespect toward people there."
That seems to have prompted the attack from Emelianenko - to which Taktarov himself responded by claiming on Instagram that the MMA fighter was now "dead" to him, bizarrely telling people "not to touch John Rambo" and posting a clip of the all-action US movie hero played by Sylvester Stallone.
Emelianenko himself is a controversial figure, being seen as increasingly close to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and spending time training in Grzony with the local strongman's Akhmat fighting team.
He has strained relations with brother Fedor, following a string of run-ins with the law which include a conviction for the 2015 rape of a house maid, for which he received a four-and-a-half year prison sentence.
He was also arrested in March of 2019 for DUI after ramming two vehicles in his all-gold Mercedes in the Russian resort city of Kislovodsk.Also on rt.com MMA fighter Emelianenko arrested for drunk driving after ramming his Mercedes into 2 cars (VIDEO)
That may make him seem la strange ally to Khabib, who is a devout Muslim, although he at least appears to have the UFC lightweight champ's support in his comments about Taktarov.
Khabib and his camp have themselves had mixed relations with Taktarov. The former UFC heavyweight appeared to criticize Khabib's style and take a swipe at his father and trainer Abdulmanap ahead of the bout against Conor McGregor in 2018.
“He’s a typical highlander,” Taktarov said at the time. “When the army comes, they hide somewhere.”
He later cleared the air by claiming he was not talking about people from Dagestan, and was even invited to visit the Nurmagomedov family a month later.
But despite having appeared to bury the hatchet, tensions flared again when Taktarov accused Abdulmanap of appearing “like a great magician” to “decide that I wasn’t the first champion.”
“He says that technically I’m not the first and I should be forgotten, wiped from history,” he said. “How can you ever say this?”