Meet the US-born ex-UFC star who defected to RUSSIA after being granted citizenship by Putin and given his own TV show | The Sun

JEFF MONSON is the former UFC fighter who renounced his American citizenship on his way to becoming a Russian politician.

'The Snowman' made his octagon debut 23 years ago at UFC 27, where he defeated Tim Lajcik via unanimous decision.

His first stint in the promotion came to an end in 2002 after defeats to MMA icons Chuck Liddell and Ricco Rodriguez.

He briefly rejoined UFC in 2006 before kicking off a journeyman stage of his career, during which he fought all over the world.

Several Russian promotions gave the now 52-year-old opportunities to compete – and he grabbed them with both hands.

Monson has competed 22 times in various Russian organisations, with his last outing taking place in 2017.



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But two years earlier, he began seeking Russian citizenship after developing an affinity for "the Russian people".

He said: "I felt deep down right away that this is my home – the one place I feel at peace with myself and my surroundings.

"And it was as unexpected for me as it would be for nearly any American.”

His wish came true in 2018 when President Vladimir Putin granted him citizenship, which ultimately proved to be the first step in him renouncing his homeland.

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Jeff Monson was given Russian citizenship in 2018 and renounced his American citizenship this yearCredit: INSTAGRAM@JEFF_MONSON_OFFICIAL
Jeff Monson is now a proud Russian politicianCredit: GETTY

The self-proclaimed "anarchist" went a step further in February when he handed over his American passport at their Istanbul consulate.

He said: “I renounced my US citizenship because of the politics of this country.

“All my thoughts and my future are connected only with Russia. Now I am no longer an American. I am only a Russian.”

Monson's love of Russia would eventually spark a move into politics, with a recent election to the regional parliament of Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan coming to fruition.

Monson developed a soft spot for Bashkortostan after opening a grappling school in the regional capital of Ufa back in 2021.

He said: “I feel at home here in Bashkortostan."

Monson's public criticism of American foreign policy played a major part in his being granted Russian citizenship.

It led to the state-owned media outlet Russia Today giving him his own TV show.

Monson's anti-American sentiment ramped up after Russia began their illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

He continues to spout pro-Kremlin propaganda, which includes wild accusations that his homeland wants the conflict to continue for their own financial gain and censorship allegations.

He recently told Sputnik: "America destroyed the Nord Stream pipeline, now America is the new supplier, not Russia.

"But America is the new supplier of gas to Europe, which needs it badly. But they're selling it at four times the price that Russia sold it to them for."

He added: "The reason is that, what's the number one thing America, or especially an American politician, is going to say about America?

"We have democracy, we have freedom. The world doesn't have freedom. We have. Freedom, Freedom, Freedom.



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"Well, how is that freedom? If the people who live in America are censored and they're only shown one position and they're told what to think.

"Americans literally have no idea, the bulk of Americans have no idea of what's going on in the world. It's just what they hear on mass media."

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