UFC welterweight and MTK Global signed, Mounir Lazzez issued a shoutout to reputed Kinahan Organized Crime Group leader, Daniel Kinahan following his unanimous decision win over Ange Loosa at UFC Vegas 51 last night, describing him as a “friend” and “brother”, as well as maintaining that his career would not have reached such heights as the UFC without the help and guidance of Kinahan.
Earlier this week, Daniel Kinahan, as well as his father, Christy Kinahan, and his brother, Christopher Kinahan Jr. – were each hit with sanctions by the United States Department of the Treasury and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. A bounty of up to $5,000,000 was also placed on each of their heads, with rewards issued to those who could provide information that would lead to the disruption of the group’s activities as well as their arrests.
Daniel Kinahan has been described as an “advisor” to many MTK Global signed combatants
Daniel Kinahan, who along with Irish professional boxer, Matthew Macklin founded management firm, MTK Global back in 2012, is said to have seen ties with the management agency cut, however, it is still believed he is playing an active role behind the scene as an advisor to some clients.
Among MTK Global clients are WBC heavyweight boxing champion, Tyson Fury – with boxing promoter, Bob Arum confirmed earlier this week that Kinahan had been paid in the region of $4,000,000 in consultancy fees in Fury’s recent bouts.
Former UFC welterweight title challenger, Darren Till is also signed to MTK Global, and at the beginning of the year, was pictured with Daniel Kinahan on a Dubai beach – and has since defended his relationship with the Dubliner, labelling him as a “friend” of his.
Off the back of his victory against Loosa last night at the UFC Apex facility, Lazzez issued a shoutout to Kinahan, thanking him as well as his coaches – with the event broadcasted across North America on ESPN. Lazzez’s comments on Daniel Kinahan have since been cut from his post-fight interview which has been uploaded on the official UFC YouTube channel.
“I would like to thank my coaches, and my brother, Daniel Kinahan,” Mounir Lazzez said. “I would never be the man I am today, and to – my career to this point. Thanks a lot.”
During his media scrum with assembled reporters after the fight, Lazzez fielded questions from Insider reporter, Al Dawson, who asked several questions regarding his decision to shout out Kinahan – with Lazzez maintaining he was unaware of sanctions imposed against Kinahan.
When asked what he had meant when claiming he wouldn’t be where he is today without the support of Kinahan, Lazzez once more backed up his comments that Kinahan was a “friend” and “advisor”.
“That man (Daniel Kinahan) is a friend and advisor,” Mounir Lazzez said. “He’s the one who picked me up every time life had kicked me down. He is a real man of his word. He’s the one who taught me what it means to be real family, a real friend. It’s someone I cannot thank enough for where I am today and who I am today… That’s why I said that, all the shout-out and credit to him.”
When asked if he was aware of sanctions imposed against Kinahan earlier this week, Lazzez replied, “No, I don’t know that.”
After he was informed of the sanctions brought against Kinahan, Lazzez explained how he was not involved in, and how he would “investigate” it himself.
“I think I’m here to entertain people,” Mounir Lazzez said. “I give the credit to whoever deserves credit. I’m not involved in this kind of stuff. I don’t know about it, and I will investigate how it is.”
Lazzez further explained how Kinahan had been offering him “advice” throughout his career, when asked how he felt about legitimizing a reputed cartel leader in combat sports through his shout out.
“No,” Mounir Lazzez said. “For me, it’s a simple thing, a friend outside the gym. I meet him for advice and he helped me throughout my career.”
Lazzez then insisted that he was not aware of sanctions brought against Kinahan, his father, and his brother – maintaining that he was just here to “entertain”.
“I don’t follow this kind of news,” Mounir Lazzez said. “I focus on the sport, I focus on my family. I focus and entertain people that’s the most important.”