UFC Fighter Mounir Lazzez celebrated Daniel Kinahan after his victory on Saturday night.
It's not just boxers who are tied to Daniel Kinahan.
On Saturday night/early Sunday morning, Mounir Lazzez defeated Angel Loosa to open UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Muhammad. Lazzez won by split decision. The largely unknown fighter is 34 years of age and from Tunisia. His nickname is The Sniper.
Lazzez pushed himself into the spotlight by celebrating Daniel Kinahan after the fight. Lazzez not only praised Kinahan's character but also attributed most of his successes to him.
"That man is a friend and advisor," Lazzez said to gathered media.
"He picked me up everytime life had put me down. He's a real man of his word and he's the one who taught me what it means to have real family, a real friend. It's someone I cannot thank him enough for where I am today. And for who I am today. He taught me real manners, how to be responsible for my family, friends and my close ones.
"That's why I said my shout out and al credit to him."
The reporter questioning Lazzez was seemingly shocked by the frankness with which Lazzez spoke. His words suggested he was talking about an inspirational figure, a father-like man who was beloved by everyone. But Kinahan is not that to everyone. Last week, the US government outlined a bounty for information leading to his capture.
The US government identified Kinahan and two of his relatives as leading members of the Kinahan cartel. Bob Arum and the wider world of boxing are attempting to distance themselves from their associations with the 44-year-old.
Lazzez was informed of the bounty at the press conference.
"No, I don't know that. I think I'm here to entertain people and I give the credit to whoever I think deserves the credit. I'm not involved in this kind of stuff, I don't know about it but I will investigate it to see what it is...for me it's a simple thing. He's a friend outside the gym, I meet him for advice and he helps me in my career.
"I don't follow this kind of news. I focus on the sport, I focus on my family and I focus on entertaining people...Any other question please?"
A voice from off camera interrupted the reporter's final question. He was offered the opportunity to ask a question about the fight, but refused to ask about the fight. Lazzez wants to focus on entertaining people but chose to name check Kinahan immediately after the fight itself.
He brought Kinahan into the story so the reporter was justified in asking about him.
This development comes just days after Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte didn't answer a single question about Kinahan during their press conference. Fury has previously posted support of Kinahan to social media and Bob Arum revealed this week he paid millions to Kinahan for Fury's fights.
UFC fighter Darren Till previously posted about his relationship with Kinahan online.
Dana White has not been linked to Kinahan. He has not spoken about Kinahan since the bounty and there is nothing for him to gain from this association. While White typically takes a hands-off approach to his fighters in this regard, the UFC won't want to encourage their fighters to continue this trend.
At the moment, Kinahan is largely viewed as a problem for boxing but that can change very quickly.
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