Vladimir Putin sure knows how to reward his favorite athletes.
After Russia's stellar performance at the Winter Olympics, Putin rewarded each medalist with a brand new Mercedes.
And now, an anecdote from an American MMA fighter reveals that it's not just Russian or victorious athletes whom Putin rewards.
In a story published on Bleacher Report, Anthony Ruiz (below) discusses the single fight that changed his life.
Two years ago Ruiz traveled to Sochi to fight Alexander Shlemenko in front of a crowd that included Putin. A judo black belt who is enamored with grappling, Putin has been spotted at several fights over the years.
The fight, which carried a $6,000 purse, went poorly for Ruiz, and by the end, his nose was "broken all the way to the side." Afterwards, according to Ruiz, Putin offered him some advice:
“You need to fix your nose.”
Ruiz nudged his nose back into place, but that tip wasn't the only gift he would get from Putin.
Several weeks later, back home in California, Ruiz got a call from someone asking how he was feeling and whether he could provide a code for a money transfer. The person on the other end of the line was speaking English, but Ruiz could hear Russian in the background.
Days after that mysterious call, Ruiz learned that $50,000 was wired into his bank account from the Russian Federation. The next day another $50,000 poured in and then another $50,000 after that. This was much, much more than Ruiz had ever earned from a single fight.
“Well, I offered my life," Ruiz said when asked how he could justify getting such a fortune. "I was there. I was willing to die. And it showed on film."
And Putin was impressed enough with such toughness that he shelled out the $150,000 without prompting.
According to SI.com's "Extra Mustard," Ruiz used the $150,000 to pay for a down payment on a home.
Below is a video of the fight which earned Ruiz a broken nose and a new home:
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