Russian President Vladimir Putin is a Judo blackbelt and a huge fan of combat sports in general. Putin is said to be in love with combat sports because he feels it reveals the nature of people.
Putin famously attended the Moscow and St Petersburg matches of MMA phenom Fedor Emelianenko. As with most Emelianenko bouts, these finished early. However neither of these bouts provided Putin with a chance to examine the strength of a man’s character.
MMA Veteran Anthony Ruiz has had roughly 60 bouts under his belt. Ruiz has plenty of interesting stories to tell as a veteran in a relatively young sport but none perhaps as stunning as the time he was gifted $150,000 even though he lost.
This bittersweet night happened on August 11, 2012 and Ruiz was facing Alexander Shlemenko who went on to become Bellator champion in 2013. Ruiz, who was considered an underdog, was dominated for 15 minutes straight by Shlemenko and got dropped three times in process. Despite taking a ruthless beating, Ruiz lasted through the last bell.
This impressed the Russian president Putin who came in the ring to exchange a few words with the American fighter. Putin praised him for showing heart and persevering through through injuries. Putin also advised Ruiz to ‘fix his nose’ in a friendly manner. The Russian president even offered this advice in English.
“You need to fix your nose.”
Ruiz returned home to California and thought nothing of the interaction. After a few days he received a call from the Russian federation asking how he was doing and if he needed any help. After explaining to them that he was okay, they asked for his bank account details and Ruiz played along. Over the course of three days Ruiz received three $50000 transfers from the Russian federation. The bank also assured Ruiz that the money was real.
The $150000 was a life changer for Ruiz who put a down-payment on a house and settled his debts with the money.
Ruiz is 44 years old and had last fought back in 2019. His MMA record stands at 34 wins and 25 losses. Prior to Shlemenko bout, he had won 4 in a row.