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Outrage After Kids As Young As 8 Fought In This Nationally Televised MMA Tournament

During the fights, a 10-year-old knocked another boy out after 14 seconds. WARNING: This post contains graphic images.

Posted on October 6, 2016, at 11:21 a.m. ET

The guy in the middle here is Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya. Kadyrov is also a prolific Instagram user with over 2 million followers.

Instagram: @kadyrov_95

He's a fierce supporter of the Kremlin and considered by most to be a vicious dictator. He's also super into mixed martial arts.

Last weekend Kadyrov attended an international fighting competition called the WFCA Grand-Prix Akhmat 2016. It took place in Grozny, Chechnya.

Up until the last day, the competition was a fairly standard MMA tournament. The whole thing was broadcast on Chechen television. It also coincided with Kadyrov's 40th birthday and was organized by a fight club named after Kadyrov's father, Akhmat.

On the last day of the tournament, boys younger than 12 fought in what was billed as “demonstrative” fights. However, the fights were very real. The children didn't wear any protective gear whatsoever.

Also, each match involved one of Kadyrov's sons. Ten-year-old Akhmat Kadyrov knocked out his opponent in 14 seconds. Kadyrov's 9-year-old son Zelimkhan won a fight by judges' decision, and 8-year-old Adam also won.

Kadyrov shared clips of the fights with his millions of Instagram followers, writing, "Little Adam showed that he’s really a lion!"

Instagram: @kadyrov_95

There was an intense reaction to the child fights outside of Chechnya. Famous Russian boxer and MMA fighter Fedor Emelyanenko condemned the fights on his own Instagram.

Instagram: @fedoremelianenkoofficial

"Yesterday, those fights between kids were called 'demonstrative,' but instead spectators saw real fights. Official rules of the sport, recognized by Russian Ministry of Sports, require all fighters younger than 21 years old to wear helmets and special protection. And all fighters younger than 12 years old also must wear T-shirts. Those fights were held under adult rules. Kids under 12 are not even allowed to fight under MMA rules. What happened in Grozny is unacceptable. This can’t be excused. I’m not even talking about how 12-year-olds should not be let inside the arena like this, but here little ones, who are only 8 years old, just beat each other up while adults watched."

On Thursday, Abusayd Vysmuradov, the head of the Akhmat fight club, responded, saying he saw nothing wrong with the fights.

Instagram: @vismuradov_95_

"Who is he to criticize our tournament and give his opinion on it? Maybe he’s just jealous that Grand-Prix Akhmat 2016 was the best tournament in the history of Russian MMA and he wasn’t even invited?"

The entire controversy has escalated to a point where the Kremlin has gotten involved. A spokesperson said they are considering investigating the tournament.

"If this was indeed shown on TV, if this information will be proved to be true and small kids being knocked down was indeed shown on TV, it sure needs to be investigated by overseeing authorities," Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Peskov declined to give his personal evaluation of the tournament.

One of the tournament's judges told reporters that the whole thing was a spoof.

"For you, it was a knockout," he said. "For me, it was a spoof. The kid got taken away, doctors came, but they didn’t help him. It wasn’t that he fell down after a punch, as it looked from the side."