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27 May, 2020 13:41

MMA MURDER-for-hire? Top Russian coach arrested on suspicion of organizing CONTRACT KILLING

MMA MURDER-for-hire? Top Russian coach arrested on suspicion of organizing CONTRACT KILLING

Russian MMA coach Vladimir Osiya, trainer of middleweight standout Magomed Ismailov, has been arrested on suspicion of organizing the murder-for-hire slaying of a shopping center boss, according to multiple reports in Russia.

Osiya, 35, and who was named by the Russian MMA Union as the best trainer of 2016, was arrested at his home on suspicion of being involved in organizing the 2019 shooting death of Nikolai Leonov, the manager of a Moscow region shopping center who was gunned down on his way to work last year, as reported by 112 Telegram channel.

After Osiya's arrest officers discovered a large packet of unknown white powder by the apartment building where he lives, which he allegedly threw from the window. The substance was determined to be 1.8 kilograms of cocaine, 112 reported.


A further three suspects were arrested and police confiscated handguns, silencers and ammunition from each. A motorcycle on which the killer traveled to complete the hit and then make his getaway from the scene of the crime was also discovered.

The men were apprehended after testimony was given against them during an investigation and are currently under questioning.

The shooting occurred not long after the 2019 World Championships in Bahrain, where Osiya helped Russia to 19 medals, of which five were gold. That same year Osiya was awarded the title of Honored Coach of Russia, the highest rank a sports trainer can receive in the country.

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Most people who worked with Osiya describe him as a calm and reasonable person, and say they don't believe he could be involved in this murder. 

Osiya’s most famous student is Magomed Ismailov, the 15-2-1 middleweight who has fought in all major Russian MMA promotions, including M-1 Global, Fight Nights Global and ACA. Ismailov was due to face controversial fighter Alexander Emelianenko, brother of MMA legend Fedor, in his next bout in April, but that match was put back to the end of summer due to the outbreak of coronavirus.


Ismailov won the combat sambo Russian Championships in 2011 and the World Championships in 2012 under the guidance of Osiya, originally from Abkhazia and who moved to Moscow in the 1990s.

Commenting on Osiya's arrest, Fight Nights Global chief Kamil Gadzhiev told Russian sports outlet Sports 24: “Arrested under suspicion and proven guilty - that’s two big differences. To talk about his guilt is premature. If so, then it is a very sad circumstance not only for me and Magomed (Ismailov), but as a whole for (Russian) MMA industry.”

An expert in judo and sambo, Osiya also worked with the Golden Team Championship (GTC) in Mytischi, just north of Moscow, which has staged eight shows since 2017.

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