Infamous Askar Mozharov, Poliana Botelho Latest to Exit UFC

Askar Mozharov, UFC Vegas 56
Askar Mozharov, UFC Vegas 56 weigh-in Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

In the end, Askar Mozharov’s incredible shrinking record wasn’t enough to keep him around the UFC.

Not that it really should have.

Mozharov and Poliana Botelho, both of whom competed at UFC Vegas 56 earlier this month, are the latest fighters to exit the promotion. In the case of Botelho, it’s unclear whether the promotion simply opted not to renew her contract, or whether she was cut outright. For Mozharov, however, he’s an obvious cut after becoming one of the most controversial UFC signings in years.

UFC Roster Watch, an automated service which monitors changes to the UFC’s athlete database, first noted the moves.

Mozharov (19-13 — we think) was picked up by the UFC last year, after he pulled out of the PFL’s 2021 season without ever having competed for the league. The Ukrainian fighter from AKA Thailand saw his debut delayed several times, before finally landing on June 4’s UFC Vegas 56 card against Alonzo Menifield.

With a promising record of 25-7… no, sorry, 21-11… wait, no, 19-12— well, you get the idea. As Mozharov’s debut approached, numerous irregularities were uncovered by MMA’s online record keepers, primarily Tapology and Sherdog. In particular, Sherdog’s FF-Files series ran an article on the fighter entitled “It’s All Been A Pack of Lies” documenting the ongoing manipulation of his professional record, which involved losses being absent, and fights appearing under another name.

By the time his fight with Menifield arrived, with his record at 19-12, it was clear a win would be needed to keep him in the UFC. That didn’t happen, as Menifield served up loss #13 (again… we think) in violent fashion.

On Thursday, Mozharov released a statement that appeared to reference his release, and the blowback he’d received on social media, by way of his Instagram Story.

“Rats who write bad things to me you are unsatisfied, envious little people.

You are like a tumor that grows and writes me the same thing.

I don’t care about you, don’t you understand? I don’t care what you write to me.

I love to fight and will do it no matter where MMA or other fights.

I am a happy person I have everything I want you better look at yourself who you are and what you have.

Every day I go one step higher and you rats do nothing but sit on the couch and write nonsense!

Mozharov also claimed that he was leaving MMA, on his own initiative (translation via Giorgi Kokiashvili):

Botelho (8-5), meanwhile, had lost three straight with her defeat at the hands of promotional newcomer Karine Silva earlier this month. With the UFC since 2017, she posted a record of 2-4 inside the octagon.

She had previously said she believed she was fighting for her job against Silva. Unfortunately, the fight did not go her way, ending via submission late in the opening round.