When celebrated coach Vladimir Osiya was arrested on suspicion of organizing a contract killing last week, local fighters and MMA promoters spoke out in support of the detained trainer. However, several fighters have also revealed that the news was “not surprising.”

Russian welterweight Artem ‘Lionheart’ Tarasov spoke openly about Osiya’s detention and how it is an example of the criminal network present in the Russian combat sports landscape.

“Vladimir Osiya has a lot of champion athletes, the most famous of whom is Magomed Ismailov,” Tarasov told ren.tv. “Osiya trained a lot of people as a combat sambo trainer, and he moved to the MMA world with Ismailov. His detention does not surprise me, because the MMA world – it’s such a world where there is a lot of crime and even such renowned coaches with talented guys are not guaranteed to be free of a criminal past.”

Last week, Osiya, along with three other suspects, was arrested on suspicion of organizing the assassination of Nikolai Leonov, who was gunned down while on his way to the shopping centre in suburban Moscow where he worked.

According to reports, police officers also discovered a white powdery substance beside the apartment building where Osiya resided. Upon further examination, it was determined to be 1.8 kilograms worth of cocaine, and is now assumed that Osiya threw the substance out of his window prior to his arrest.

Osiya, 35, is best known as the coach of popular middleweight fighter Magomed Ismailov. He was named the best MMA coach of 2016 by the Russian MMA Union and was awarded the title of Honoured Coach of Russia, the highest rank for a coach, in 2019.


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