A UFC fighter has been making the headlines in Thailand for all the wrong reasons. Khusein Askhabov and his twin brother Khasan Askhabov have been arrested for kidnap, torture and extortion according to local media in Phuket.
Khusein Askhabov holds a professional record of 23-1 and made his UFC debut in February. Meanwhile Khasan Askhabov is 23-2 although he has never fought for a major promotion.
But the twin brothers have been doing much more than merely training MMA during their time in Phuket. They were arrested last week and charged with,
“the act of robbery done with cruelty (and) endangering the body or mind through torture.”
The always reliable Phuket News has the shocking details of the case. On September 3rd three men broke into a villa belonging to an Italian tourist and dragged him out of his bedroom before blindfolding him and gagging him.
The attackers subsequently fled the country. They flew from Phuket to Dubai and are now believed to be in Kazakhstan but the Italian victim had various items stolen including:
- One Rolex ‘Daytona’ watch valued at about 2.5 million baht ($68,000 USD)
- One Patek Philippe ‘Nautilus’ watch valued at about 3.8mn baht ($107,000 USD)
- One Graff watch valued at about 1.6mn baht ($45,000 USD)
- One Macbook, a new iPhone 13 and a new iPhone 14, and a pair of sunglasses
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While both brothers have impressive MMA records the size of their online following has also raised eyebrows. Khusein Askhabov has 5.2 million followers on Instagram which, if taken at face value, would make him one of the most popular mixed martial artists in the world.
Meanwhile his brother, who has yet to fight for a major MMA promotion, has 4.9 million followers. That will be scant consolation to the siblings who were arrested on September 5th according to the Phuket News.
It isn’t clear exactly what role the Askhabov brothers played in the attack but the Phuket News notes that,
“The Italian man said he had first met the Askhabov brothers at a beach cafe in Cherng Talay about a year ago. They had become acquaintances over the past year.”
It sounds like the twins are suspected of orchestrating the kidnapping, extortion and robbery even if they weren’t present at the scene of the actual crime.
Khusein Askhabov is currently booked to face Daniel Pineda at UFC Fight Night 229 in Las Vegas on October 7th. It remains to be seen whether that bout will go ahead as scheduled.