Vladimir Putin Sent an American MMA Fighter $150K after Watching Him Lose
Anthony Ruiz traveled to Sochi in 2012 to fight Alexander Shlemenko, and while he took a pretty brutal beating that night, he did end up with a pretty generous consolation prize: $150,000 from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who attended the fight.
According to Josh Gross of Bleacher Report, Shlemenko dominated Ruiz from the first bell, knocking him down three times and seemingly landing every punch he threw. Ruiz said it felt like his opponent "hit me probably a thousand times."
Despite being outgunned, Ruiz continued to fight through the final bell and Putin came in the ring to speak with the American after the match.
Immediately after the fight, with the tone of one friend telling another they have food stuck between their teeth, the Russian president offered this advice in English.
Said Putin: “You need to fix your nose.”
After snapping his nose back into place and returning home to California, Ruiz got a call from a Russian man asking how he was doing and if he needed any assistance. Over the next three days he received a series of $50,000 transfers from the Russian Federation, as well as assurances from his bank that the money was real.
Ruiz has since gone 3-1 in his fights, and used the windfall to put a down payment on a house.[Bleacher Report, via Bloody Elbow]