World Animal Protection Condemns Video of MMA Superstar Fighting Bear Cub

May 02 2019

In an open letter, the organization pleads with Khabib Nurmagomedov to set a positive example

World Animal Protection US recently became aware of a heart-breaking video featuring MMA star Khabib Nurmagomedov fighting a chained bear cub, which was posted on Instagram  last week. In the video, Nurmagomedov pushes the bear down by the collar, which is attached to a short chain to restrict the animal’s movement. Later the fighter steps out of the cub’s reach, which forces the bear to jerk back its neck to avoid being choked, while onlookers laugh and film the incident.

In an open letter to Khabib, World Animal Protection asks the fighter to reconsider his actions and set a positive example for fans. Bears are not MMA fighters. They are not entertainers.

Statement from Julie Cappiello, Wildlife Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection US:

“Unlike Khabib’s human opponents, this bear was not a willing participant. This bear cub was likely torn from its mother’s side and forced to interact with onlookers through the use of gruelling training methods. Bears do not naturally walk on two legs—they are trained to do so by being hung by their necks against walls when they’re cubs, forcing them to remain upright for hours on end.

As a role model for millions of children and young adults, we hope Nurmagomedov will reconsider this action. He has the chance to make this right by urging fans to never support activities where animals are fought or used for entertainment. As the UFC lightweight champion, we encourage him to get back into the octagon with a willing participant worthy of his skills.

World Animal Protection defines wildlife entertainment as using wild animals primarily for entertaining people in ways that cause harm, stress or discomfort to the animals, or by displaying them in demeaning ways. Within such situations, wild animals are kept in inadequate living conditions that cause continuous suffering. They will also experience pain as part of the training methods. For example, orangutans are trained to re-enact kick-boxing matches, tiger cubs are made to pose with tourists for selfies, and elephants are forced to give rides and perform shows."

Bears do not naturally walk on two legs—they are trained to do so by being hung by their necks against walls when they’re cubs, forcing them to remain upright for hours on end.

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