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The Church and the Fighter: How a UFC heavyweight became a Russian tycoon’s hired muscle

On Monday night, fighters representing the Russian Copper Company (RMK) Martial Arts Academy attempted to violently disperse a group of protestors who opposed the construction of a new church in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

According to Russian investigative outlet Novaya Gazeta, the protestors were gathered in a public garden near the construction site, where they objected to the deforestation required for the construction of St. Catherine’s Church. The protestors allegedly tore through the fencing that separated the garden from the construction area and occupied the site, which is when dozens of athletes from the academy arrived on the scene.