American mixed martial arts (MMA) star Jeff Monson was granted honorary citizenship on Thursday by the internationally unrecognized Republic of Abkhazia, which declared independence from Georgia in 1999.
The honor was bestowed upon Monson during a meeting with the breakaway region's president, Raul Khadzhimba, in the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi. Monson is in town for an MMA match Thursday evening.
Khadzhimba granted Monson citizenship in recognition of “his great personal contribution to the protection and defense of the right of peoples to self determination and independence,” according to Interfax news agency.
Monson, a self-declared anarcho-communist and harsh critic of American foreign policy, sees himself as a fighter for unrecognized independence movements throughout the former Soviet Union.
Last month, he became the first American to receive citizenship from the self-declared People's Republic of Luhansk, a Russian-backed statelet in eastern Ukraine. With the help of Russia's Communist Party, Monson is applying for Russian citizenship before moving to Moscow.