Makhmud Muradov, the first MMA signup of Floyd Mayweather’s TMT (The Money Team), is facing an embarrassing scandal while training in his home country of Uzbekistan on a break from his base in the Czech Republic.
An old video surfaced over the weekend, purportedly showing “Mach” from when he was 22 years old stripping to his birthday suit in front of a camera in what can be characterized as a pornorgraphic presentation for a gay audience. In a prefacing interview, the young man confesses that he had his first sexual experience at the age of 16 or 17 and that his orientation is heterosexual.
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The buzz of shock and disbelief in the conservative Muslim country was so intense that Muradov felt compelled to post to his Instagram account a reaction to the news. The fighter delivered his message to fans in a demeanor drastically different from his usual cheerful and upbeat self.
The Russian-written caption “Спасибо всем тем, кто со мною!” translates as “Thanks to all those who are with me!” The video garnered over 50,000 views within eight hours of posting.
He also uploaded a typed note as an Instagram story, thanking his fans for the support and vowing to move his career forward.
Muradov’s prominent Uzbek sponsor Buka Boxing issued a statement as a story on their Instagram account that they will stop working with the athlete.
For those unfamiliar with the Uzbek mixed-martial artist, Makhmud is a 16-6-0 midleweight MMA fighter out of Prague, Czech Republic. His next XFN fight is slated for October 6, 2018, at the Home Monitoring Arena in Plzen.
Just last week, Muradov was all smiles as he shared a photo of his new Uzbek passport. He is a national sports treasure widely praised for his charitable works.
The Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan is a former Soviet republic famous for its mosques, mausoleums and other sites linked to the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. Muradov’s ties are to the historic city of Bukhara, though he is frequently in the capital of Tashkent, which is about 350 miles away.
Many of Muradov’s fans in Uzbekistan seem eager to forgive and forget, while those in the Czech Republic and other Western countries are unfazed by an old video, in light of having seen the antics of Kim Kardashian and her ilk over the years. A 24-year-old Sylvester Stallone headlined the porn flick Party at Kitty and Stud’s (Italian Stallion) to earn himself $200 in 1970; six years later, he was in Rocky.
Notably, the person who brought the video to the attention of Uzbeks is a Moscow-based trans who goes by the name of Jasminna. Uzbekistan and its neighbor Turkmenistan are the only ex-Soviet nations that have maintained the Communist-era ban on male homosexual relationships, punishable by prison time.