UFC’s Mounir Lazzez thanks alleged Irish mob boss Daniel Kinahan

A UFC fighter thanked an alleged Irish mob boss targeted by the US government after winning his fight on Saturday.

Following his UFC Fight Night victory over Ange Loosa, Mounir Lazzez thanked Daniel Kinahan, upon whom the US government imposed a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction days before the fight.

“I would love to thank my coaches and my brother Daniel Kinahan,” Lazzez said in a post-fight interview on the ESPN broadcast. “Without him, I would never be the man who I am today and my career at this point. Thanks a lot.”

Asked to clarify the comments in a press conference, Lazzez said he was unaware of the allegations against Kinahan, which include running one of the world’s biggest cartels, drug trafficking, money laundering and an alleged gang war in Dublin and Spain that has resulted in 18 deaths. Kinahan has been a large figure in combat sports, as he founded MTK Global, a boxing management company.

“I think I’m here to entertain people,” Lazzez said. “I give the credit to whoever deserves credit. I’m not involved on stuff. I don’t know about it and I will investigate how it is.”

He called Kinahan a “friend and adviser” and, when told that Dublin police accused anyone in combat sports who still works with him of being involved in a criminal network, said: “I don’t follow this kind of news.”

UFC president Dana White declined comment to Yahoo Sports on the situation.

“For me it’s a simple thing, a friend outside the gym,” Lazzez said. “I meet him for advice and he helped me throughout my career.”

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