Jeff Monson, American mixed martial artist, granted Russian citizenship

May 29, 2018 GMT

President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to Jeff Monson, a professional mixed martial artist and former Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor from St. Paul, Minnesota, the Kremlin announced Tuesday.

Mr. Putin issued a presidential decree Monday granting citizenship to Mr. Monson, 47, according to a copy of the document uploaded by the Russian government.

“He is a rather well-known person in the world of his sports, moreover, he is world famous, which was the reason for granting citizenship to him,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday.

Mr. Monson “has gone through all the procedures, applying for citizenship in accordance with the established rules,” said Mr. Peskov, state media reported.

“I would like to point out that according to our legislation, he will finally get citizenship once he takes the oath. This is what the law requires and the requirement should be fulfilled,” Mr. Peskov added, according to Russia’s TASS newswire.

Mr. Monson applied for Russian citizenship in late 2015, he said previously. He did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

“When people ask me why I sought Russian citizenship, it’s hard to give a concise answer,” Mr. Monson wrote for Newsweek in 2016. “I guess it’s because I just feel Russian.”

Other Americans granted citizenship by Mr. Putin in recent years include boxer Roy Jones Jr. in 2015 and martial artist-turned-actor Steven Seagal in 2016.