MMA Fighter Allegedly Murders Doctor Over Vaccine Debate

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A Russian-born professional mixed martial artist out of Guam was arrested last week and charged with aggravated murder in addition to multiple other charges, including aggravated assault, use of a deadly weapon, strangulation, felonious restraint, assault, and family violence.

Akmal “AK” Khozhiev, 27, is a professional fighter with a 3-1 record in MMA. On social media, he referred to himself as the “Unvaccinated Assassin” and used the platform to disparage the COVID-19 vaccine and anyone that supported vaccination. That stance allegedly led to an argument between himself and Radiologist Dr Miran Ribati, resulting in the doctor’s murder.

Per the reports from the Pacific Daily News, Guam police responded to a disturbance complaint in Tamuning. When officers arrived, they found Khozhiev covered in blood and saying, “I killed him.” He was taken into custody. Shortly after, officers on the scene discovered Rabati’s body “laying face down in a pool of blood,” per the report. Rabati was pronounced dead on the scene.

According to the Pacific Daily News report, the two men were at the apartment complex sharing a meal when the incident occurred. At some point, an argument about COVID vaccination began. The exchange turned violent when Khozhiev grabbed Rabati from behind and began choking him. Two women present, reportedly the mother and sister of Khozhiev, tried to subdue the 27-year-old. One of them was struck in the head during the scuffle. At that time, Khozhiev grabbed an animal bone leftover from the meal they shared and stabbed Ribati in the neck. The victim tried to leave the complex, but Khozhiev followed him, this time with a knife, and stabbed him multiple times in the neck.

“He Was Such a Great Person up Until He Wasn’t”

Khozhiev, who goes by the nickname “AK,” was a trainer at Steel Athletics, a local gym, until a few months ago. Gym owner JJ Ambrose told KUAM News that he had released Khozhiev due to threatening staff members and customers. Ambrose noted on one occasion he was seen on video pushing a person to the ground and kicking and punching them before being pulled off. 

“He was such a great person up until he wasn’t,” Ambrose said. “We did everything we possibly could to warn people that AK wasn’t AK anymore.” Ambrose also added that he told local police that he had seen Khozhiev become increasingly violent.

A video posted to his Instagram shows Khozhiev claiming that COVID-19 vaccines were “killing” people. “You all think I’m playing with you?” he said. “But for real, no more f*cking vaccines. What the f*ck are you thinking about? It’s killing you.”

COVID-19 vaccinations have been repeatedly proven to be both safe and effective in lowering the risk of serious illness, long-term effects, or death from the disease.

The Guam Memorial Hospital Authority issued a statement on the death. “Dr Ribati was an Interventional Radiologist at GMHA, serving the community for over three years. His talents were undeniable and impeccable; his passion unparalleled; his accolades from patients in droves. He will be sorely missed among colleagues, staff and the entire Guam healthcare community.

Bail was set at $1 million when Khoziev made his first court appearance.

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