The UFC has decided to cancel Khusein Askhabov's upcoming bout against Daniel Pineda following reports of his arrest in Thailand.
According to Phuket News, the UFC featherweight and his twin brother have been taken into custody in connection with a highly violent home invasion and robbery. Askhabov was initially slated to face Pineda at UFC Vegas 80 next month, but the premier MMA organization has withdrawn him from the event pending an investigation into the alleged criminal activities.
In a statement posted on their website, the UFC addressed the situation:
“UFC is aware of the recent arrest and allegations regarding Khusein Askhabov,”
“The organization will continue to gather additional details regarding the incident. UFC will allow the legal process to play out before making any additional statements, however, his scheduled fight on October 7 has been canceled.”
Askhabov faces severe charges of kidnap, torture, and extortion in connection with a violent attack on an Italian man in his Phuket villa. The victim was subjected to binding and gagging for several hours while his assailants assaulted and interrogated him for information, following a tip-off about valuable items in the house. It is believed that the thieves made off with items totaling 12 million Thai Baht, equivalent to approximately £270,000, including three luxury watches, an Apple laptop, and an iPhone. The victim's passport and debit cards were also taken during the robbery.
Askhabov made his UFC debut in February, suffering a unanimous decision loss – the first of his career – against Jamall Emmers in Las Vegas. Before joining the UFC, the 28-year-old held an impressive undefeated MMA record, boasting a remarkable 22-0 record.
As for Daniel Pineda, the situation regarding his next opponent remains uncertain. It is unclear whether he will remain on the same card, or if the UFC will seek an alternative opponent and possibly move him to a different event.
Currently, UFC president Dana White's attention is focused on the allegations against Khusein Askhabov and the legal proceedings surrounding the case.