From Beachside Bar Brawl to Full-Scale War: Russia’s Path to Conflict Started With a Mixed Martial Arts Tournament

Vladimir Putin Seeks Retribution Against US and Western World Orde

In August 2013, Russian fighters dominated in a mixed martial arts contest against a “world” team at a beachside nightclub in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Scantily dressed women cheered them on with Russian flags, as the crowd erupted in cheers every time the home squad achieved victory. The climax of the event came when a 44-year-old American fighter was knocked out, leaving the Russians on top.

Unbeknownst to everyone at the time, six months later Russia’s president Vladimir Putin would initiate the country’s path to war by seizing Crimea from Ukraine, leading to a full-scale invasion that is now entering its third year next week. The event at the beachside nightclub seems like a distant memory now, but it serves as a reminder of how quickly political tensions can escalate and lead to conflict.

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