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‘I am not a criminal’: Mairbek Taisumov still struggling to secure U.S. visa

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The last time MMA Fighting spoke to lightweight knockout artist, Mairbek Taisumov, he was confident that he would finally secure a visa for his high stakes bout with Evan Dunham at UFC 223.

Ultimately, ‘Beckan’ would not make it to the Brooklyn date as his visa application was never granted. With five straight knockout wins in the UFC’s lightweight division, nobody would look twice if Taisumov was handed a date with a top tier opponent, but he doubts he will able to challenge at the top of the bracket without acquiring entry to the USA.

Although he remains hopeful that he will eventually secure a U.S. visa, the Russian knockout artist vented his frustration with the situation ahead of his first bout of the year at UFC Moscow against Desmond Green.

“It always comes back to the visa excuses,” Taisumov told Peter Carroll on the latest episode of Eurobash.

“My lawyers kept telling me, ‘Hey, Beckan, two more weeks and we’ll get the visa’, but I am still waiting. They promised me they would get this visa, but nothing is happening. I don’t know what is the problem.

“I am not a criminal, I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m just a sportsman. I’ve put all of my life into the sport and because of a piece of paper I cannot fight with the best guys in the best promotion. That’s the situation [at the moment], but I hope very soon I will get this visa. I haven’t lost hope to get the title and get the visa.”

Taisumov believes that a political issue stands in the way of him competing in the U.S.

“It’s just a political thing, but I don’t know why they choose to punish me. I’m not the only one, they don’t get [visas] for many fighters. Politics are [for politicians], I don’t know why we [should be punished for it].”

He believes that the UFC are now refusing to sign Russian fighters who don’t already have U.S. visas.

“We have many athletes in Russia. You know why they didn’t sign many fighters ahead of the Russian event? Because [Russian fighters] don’t have a visa. Now, UFC ask you before they sign you if you have a U.S. visa, if you have it they’ll sign you. All of these visa problems make big problems for many fighters.”

Getting some fighters to risk their ranking spot can be difficult, ‘Beckan’ believes that asking top-tier opponents to come to Europe to compete makes things even more difficult.

“I really hope that someday I will be given a title shot, but the top 10 guys don’t want to fight outside of America. They’re just fighting in America, so I don’t know what to do. If you want to fight for the title you have to fight some top guys,” said Taisumov.

“They want to fight at home, they always tell me, ‘Come over here and fight me!’ I swear to God, I don’t care where I fight. I’ll fight anyone, any time, anywhere. All these guys who are saying, ‘If you want to fight you should come to America’, they 100 percent know that I have no visa to fight over there.”

Taisumov is confident he’ll make it six victories in a row when he faces Green in Moscow, but he doesn’t expect the lightweight division’s top talent to suddenly become interested in fighting him with another victory on his record.

“I am a dangerous fighter for anyone. Give me any top-five opponent or top-10, I would fight any one. I am not in the rankings, but they all know that I’m a dangerous fighter. They’d rather fight in the U.S. and make easy money — I am not easy money for any of those guys.”

Check out the latest episode of Eurobash podcast below. MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll is joined by former Cage Warriors flyweight champion and UFC veteran Neil Seery, and Off The Ball’s Niall McGrath to discuss all of the recent developments on the European MMA scene. The Mairbek Taisumov interview begins at 48:00.


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