Magomedrasul “Frodo” Khasbulaev is one of my top five Dagestani fighters. That might seem like a narrow superlative, but half of my top ten favorite fighters is probably Dagestanis. Unfortunately for poor Frodo, he’s been out of sight and out of mind to many. Frodo won Bellator’s season eight featherweight tournament back in 2013, but he never ended up getting his guaranteed title shot. There was talk of his visa being denied, keeping him in Dagestan and out of America. Yesterday, Frodo opened up and it sparked a pretty huge TWITTER BEEF with former Bellator matchmaker, Sam Caplan. Take it away, Storify!
Now, devoid of some information, Caplan looks like he’s got a point regarding Frodo’s claim that Bellator didn’t want Russian champions with limited English. After all, Alex Shlemenko, Vitaly Minakov and Alex Volkov are all current or former Bellator champions. However, Frodo competes at featherweight, and at the time, the champion was Pat Curran. Curran appeared by many to be Bjorn’s sort of pet project, so much so that when he lost a clear-cut unanimous decision to Daniel Straus, Curran was given an immediate rematch, instead of having to earn his title shot with a tournament victory, like everyone else had in the history of Bellator.
Of course, a big chunk of information not in those tweets is that the UFC had their own crop of Dagestani fighters, and none of them suffered any visa problems. Khabib Nurmagomedov made his US debut before Frodo and has never had an issue getting his visa. Neither has Ali Bagautinov, Rustam Khabilov, or Chechen fighter Adlan Amagov, and I would guess it’s even harder to get a visa coming from Chechnya.
Ultimately, we won’t know anything until Frodo releases the documents to see if it they state “Sam Caplan denied this application on the grounds that Mr. Khasbulaev would totally wreck Pat Curran with mad SAMBO skills”, in which case I guess he’ll sue the United States of America’s embassy.