It won’t surprise you that the same person is capable of breaking the track and field world record and at the same time building a career as a professional MMA fighter. Because any professional athlete can develop in any direction. What if they tell you that person is the Paralympics bronze medalist?
Chermen Kobesov from North Ossetia, as part of the Russian Paralympic team, became the 2013 world champion, 2016 European champion, 2015 Iwas world champion and a bronze medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, world record holder for jumping in length, and Chermen is also a multiple championship. winner of Russia in athletics among people with injuries of the musculoskeletal system.
Chermen’s record in MMA is 7-2. And the next fight will take place on July 29. Chermen told the “Soviet Sport” correspondent about why he returns to MMA, the bureaucracy and the attitude towards sports officials.
– Now, after a while, doesn’t it seem like the successful Paralympic Games in Tokyo are a fairy tale from another era?
– To be honest, I was disappointed. I was ready for more. It so happened, ironically, that I was poisoned, then sick with covid, all this negativity affected the final results. In general, I am pleased and grateful to God that, at least in my four disciplines, I won a bronze medal for the country.
– How are things now with the combination of MMA and athletics, what are the prospects without international competitions?
– At the moment I am in Cheboksary, where the Russian Championship in Athletics is taking place. They do everything for us, they try. Two weeks after the Russian championship, on August 10, the Summer Paralympics will take place. Just a few days ago, the World Championships in Athletics were held in Paris and the results shown by us in Cheboksary will be compared with the world ones. And on this basis there will be a distribution to the Russian team, as well as a monetary reward.
– Do you crave the atmosphere of international competitions?
– Of course I’m sad. Still, this is an opportunity to visit other countries, communicate with many people of other cultures and nationalities. And now, the monotony continues, which sometimes bothers. You do not know how and what will happen next. We have a problem, every year the federation changes the selection criteria, this is bad. They do what is best for them in terms of the distribution of scholarships and equipment, and not what is best for the athletes. This dual situation is annoying all the time. For example, if you take a team with healthy athletes, everything is different there, everything is done for them so that they do not feel discomfort. For athletes with disabilities, the opposite is true.
– For 2023, how did you manage to advance with the fights in MMA?
– After 2021, when I returned from the Tokyo Olympics, I took a one-year break from my track and field career. Due to the fact that I did not go to the Russian Championship, they removed me from the national team, removed me from all salaries and scholarships, although they had no right to do so. Sports officials are well aware that Olympians and Paralympians have been matched since 2008. By law, Olympic champions and medalists must receive a monthly stipend. And we, the Paralympic athletes, had our scholarships taken away.
– That is, at that time you stopped receiving financial support from the state completely?
– Last year, I still received, and from the beginning of 2023 all payments stopped, despite the fact that I participated in the Sochi Paralympics. There I won three medals. And I’m not the only one: Nikita Prokhorov is the silver medalist of the Paralympics, Elena Ivanova is the silver medalist of the Tokyo Paralympics, they were also withdrawn from scholarships. Elena, like me, fell ill before the Russian Championship, and Nikita was injured. He even asked for coaching advice for us, they wanted the federation to take our position. For ten years, athletes have brought solid medals to the country, and due to health problems, scholarships are taken away from us, but somehow we need to live, there is no longer any income like those who paid us for the Paralympics. And I had to switch to mixed martial arts. On July 29 I will have my 10th fight (in 5 years) in the octagon.
– With whom will the duel take place and where?
– The fight will take place in Dubai, I honestly do not remember the name of the opponent, I do not delve into these nuances. (The opponent’s name is Roman Madich, he represents Kyrgyzstan. – Approx. “Soviet sport”). This is my first fight in two and a half years. This downtime was formed due to preparations for the Tokyo Olympics. After the deprivation of the scholarship, you have to return to the ring, you have to live on something.
You talk about it like you’re being forced to.
– Actually, I really wanted to. But the plans were better to prepare for track and field outings, and it all came of its own accord.
– If it’s not a secret, what do you live on?
– I live on my disability pension, plus I receive a scholarship from my region.
– And what organization in Dubai does fights?
– MMA Series.
– How are things going with the promotional organization AMC Fight Nights?
– When Fight Nights signed me for the first two fights (by promotion), it happened that I was immediately defeated due to lack of experience, and then they wanted to throw me into the ring as cannon fodder. For example, I was in a training camp in Kislovodsk and two weeks before I was invited to the tournament, although I asked to be notified at least 2-3 months before the fight. But two weeks before the tournament, they offer me an experienced fighter as a rival. It seems to me that this is just a setup. I tried to explain to them that I needed more time to prepare. I wasn’t afraid of the opponent, but I just couldn’t physically prepare for him.
At some point, the representatives of the promotion stopped communicating. Yes, and Kamil Gadzhiev himself paid the fees for the fights with a delay of three months. After the last fight, which I lost, they could not pay me a fee of 90 thousand rubles for two months. My friends and fans wrote comments on social networks, asking when they would already be paying me the money. After that, Kamil Hajiyev called me and told me to remove my audience. I replied, how do you imagine me shutting people up?
But I am still grateful to them for the opportunity, despite the fact that they chose me as the first Paralympian in MMA, they wanted to earn money with me, increase their rating, catch some hype. If they weren’t interested in me as a media personality, they wouldn’t do anything at all.
– Who is your idol in MMA?
– My idol is Georges St-Pierre. But the first one I found out about was Fedor Emelianenko. And yet Saint-Pierre will always remain the standard of a fighter for me. It’s because of the way he thinks, the way he thinks, because of his fighting principles and behavior in the Octagon and outside the Octagon.
– Your wife watches your fights, how does she feel about it?
– She’s not looking. My father also rarely looks. Suppose, when I have a fight, I flag it and ask: why aren’t you near the TV? He says: I prefer to go for a walk with my daughter.
– Tell us about your training at the Jackson Wink MMA Academy in New Mexico, what experience did you gain while training in unusual conditions?
– I went to the United States after being suspended from athletics. I moved there at the beginning of 2019. I imagined in advance that training there would have a positive impact on my future career in mixed martial arts. They advised me to write to the Russian manager Mikhail Lyubanov, and he explained what was there and how. At our local village office, they gave me a small plot of land, I sold it for a penny, just to go to the US. I immediately felt how different the level was. If they say that the British invented soccer, then MMA was invented in America. Trained with many stars, observed, gained experience.
– Have mixed martial arts halls appeared in Ossetia?
– Yes, training rooms have appeared, many good fighters have appeared. Recently my compatriot Azamat Bekoev also went to the USA, where he trains in the TOP-3. And Alanya MMA went to train in Paris and debuted well in this promotion.
– Why are there no Ossetian fighters in the UFC, in Bellator, although the region is known for its success in wrestling and wrestling?
– No one can answer this question. Perhaps due to the lack of sponsors. Compared to Dagestan, they have a much larger population and have great competition and many more opportunities. And with us … You just need to wait a little and everything will definitely be fine.
– In one of your interviews I read: now I have a problem: “I cannot find an organization and a manager. Therefore, I want to turn to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Fedor Emelianenko and other titled fighters to help with contacts, to send them ”- is the issue still relevant now? Did you manage to contact them?
– I could not contact either Khabib or Fedor Emelianenko. Now I have a pretty good track record in MMA. God forbid, on July 29 I will win my fight and at the moment I will have 8 wins and only 2 losses. With such records, you can advance both in the UFC and in Bellator. I used to contact other coaches and they told me that I have a bad win-loss ratio (4-2). When I was 6-2, they still didn’t give me a chance, but I knew there were 4-4 fighters in Bellator, and the UFC is the same. And then, of course, I know that with the help of Khabib or Fedor, with a click of his finger, he would have entered the UFC or any other American organization.
– What are you going to do after the end of your sports career?
– I have not thought of it yet. I’m only 27 years old. I know that it is one thing to enter the UFC, but to become a champion is another. Perhaps I will open a ranch or a farm, I love animals, livestock, agriculture and in my old age I will leave my legacy to my children and grandchildren. And I myself will live in peace and harmony.
Social networks of Chermen Kobesov
– What do you think of MMA pop, where bloggers fight, what do you think of the idea of making a fight between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg?
– I don’t want to offend anyone, but this is not a sport. This is crap, everyone slanders each other there, affects nationality, hits on the sly. Young people, of course, are seeing all this, and in any case, all this propaganda reflects on them. And athletes from time immemorial were disciplined and respected each other. Even in track and field, I always said that I was grateful to my opponents, even the ones who beat me, because they gave me the necessary experience.
– What can you say about the Hasbik phenomenon in our country and about its popularity abroad?
– I don’t know him personally. Maybe he is like that on screen. But I want to say that he is a very big guy. Whatever he does, it’s better than sitting at home on his parents’ necks and complaining to the whole world. He had a chance, and he started gassing. And there who promoted it, who threw it away, that is secondary. He is known throughout Russia, he is invited everywhere. He is a citizen of our country.
– Is there a formula of how an athlete can realize himself in Russia and earn money at the same time?
– To realize yourself, you need discipline, a good manager, good PR and, of course, a lot of hard work.