'SHOOT THEM DOWN!' Kazakh MMA fighter declares war on helicopters ‘spreading Covid’, arrested for inciting violence
Khamitov was placed in a temporary detention facility in his hometown of Almaty for 3 days after a clip was posted on YouTube in which Khamitov bizarrely called on the people of Kazakhstan to prevent the spread of the disease by beating those who disinfect themselves “with sticks and stones” and shooting down helicopters "spreading coronavirus" in a war declaration against the poisoning of the nation.
In the video, Khamitov, a three-time ‘world’ champion under various organizations, and who has fought with Fight Nights Global in Russia, directly likens the current pandemic to war and insisted his plan was to "save thousands".
"Just yesterday people started to disinfecting, started to poison the nation, therefore I call for anyone who sees these people in the street to beat them up," Khamitov, who in May suggested to try a coronavirus vaccine on thousands of deputies, said.
"Beat them with sticks and with stones so that these people do not poison the nation. And if you see helicopters that are spreading this, and you have a gun at home, shoot straight at them.
“It’s like in war. If we stop these people then we’ll save thousands. Therefore I ask that everyone does everything in their power so that the virus does not reappear and infect the nation."
Self-proclaimed showman Khamitov, who has a record of 20-6-2 and competes in the same lightweight division as UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, later said that the video was recorded as a joke and he did not intend to encourage anyone to incite violence.
Police nevertheless arrested the 32-year-old, who goes by the nickname ‘Naiman’, a reference to a Kazakh tribe with origins in Mongolia, in his home town and charged him with inciting mass civil unrest.
“During the monitoring of social media, a video appeared featuring K. Khamitov with a call to violence,"a police statement read, according to SportBox.ru.
"The current charge is registered in a single record of pre-trial investigation according to article 272 part 3 of the criminal code (call to mass civil unrest)."
The fighter faces up to three years in prison if he is found guilty of the criminal charges of civil unrest. Khamitov made headlines in March when he said that members of the LGBT community are "worse than dogs".
Earlier this year, Russian MMA fighter Sergei Kharitonov, an outspoken critic of coronavirus safety measures, said he had especially tried to catch coronavirus by standing in places where people cough in Moscow, and described mandatory masks as "muzzles".