Russian flag blunder on mock-up UFC poster provokes claims of ‘utter disrespect’
Undefeated Brit Muhammad Mokaev has asked for a poster about a UFC Fight Night in his homeland to be changed after he was incorrectly labeled Russian in a move that has caused some fans to accuse the UFC of a lack of respect.
Flyweight Mokaev is based in the north-west town of Wigan, having left Dagestan as a 12-year-old and settled in England as a refugee.
The 21-year-old is set to make his UFC debut on the undercard of Alexander Volkov's clash with Tom Aspinall at the O2 Arena in London on March 19, but he was clearly perturbed by seeing a flag next to his name on a poster which identifies him as Russian.
"Change flag for me, please," asked Mokaev on Twitter, addressing UFC Europe ahead of his bout with Cody Durden on the biggest night of his MMA career so far.
Exactly what I was going to comment until I saw it wasn't an official ufc post, how dare they hahaha— Myles Hutton (@MylesHutton15) February 3, 2022
UFC Europe's official account did not appear to have created or shared the poster, suggesting that a fan account could have made the mistake.
Mokaev is proud of his roots and has hit the headlines for becoming one of the youngest stars in the UFC after a tough upbringing.
His story has caught the imagination of fans, many of whom were unimpressed to see his nationality mistaken on a poster that also features the likes of Liverpudlian loudmouth Paddy Pimblett and long-serving lightweight Dan Hooker.
You was born in Russia— DJ (@RawDogMMA) February 3, 2022
Raised and went to school in England, all his training was done here too. Most of his coaches have been British too. British citizenship, won multiple gold medals for UK.— Combat Contemplations (@CombatContem) February 3, 2022
"Wow," said one fan who seemed to be under the impression that the UFC had created the artwork, accusing its perpetrators of being "utterly disrespectful".
Responding to a reader who pointed out that Mokaev was born in Russia, another of his supporters said: "Raised and went to school in England.
"All his training was done here. Most of his coaches have been British, too. British citizenship, won multiple gold medals for UK."
Speaking on the day tickets went on sale for the much-anticipated bill, one Mokaev enthusiast told him: "You need to rep the UK.
"Also, [touts] bought all the tickets and now the prices are outrageous. Am waiting for one to hopefully come down to 200, but it is really annoying."
Some called Mokaev an inspiration, with others joking that promoters might be keen to name fighters as Dagestani because of the lasting impact of all-time UFC great Khabib Nurmagomedov, who hails from the country.
American Durden has won, drawn and lost in his three UFC fights to date, most recently beating Qileng Aori via decision in November.