Former Bellator signee Rasul Mirzaev’s nightmare appears to have an end in sight, at least for now, as the Russian Federation’s Court has lowered Mirzaev’s charge in the death of Russian student Ivan Agafonov. The original charge, “intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm, resulting in the death of the victim,” was lowered to “causing death by negligence.” The result is that Mirzaev is only facing a maximum sentence of two years instead of the fifteen years he was originally facing.
The reduction in charge came as a result of a final investigation into the death of Agafonov by the court. The court decided that Agafonov’s death was the result of a fall sustained after a he was struck by Mirzaev. Video showed that while Mirzaev struck the larger man hard enough to cause the fall, Mirzaev also did not attack the man once he fell. Witnesses stated that Mirzaev also helped Agafonov’s friends after Agafonov fell. Mirzaev left after Agafonov had regained consciousness. Agafonov was taken to the hospital after he struggled to stay awake. Agafonov later lost consciousness at the hospital and never recovered consciousness before dying four days later.
Agafonov’s family originally sought to sue the doctors who treated he son for negligence but changed their mind following the release of a report from the Department of Health in Moscow. The report, done independently by some of Moscow’s top neurosurgeons, stated that while some mistakes were made, none were fatal. The group ruled there was no way to foresee that Agafonov’s condition would deteriorate like it did.
The report by the doctors, Agafonov’s provocation, witness statements from the night club, and the fact that Mirzaev immediately handed himself over to authorities upon hearing of Agafonov’s death likely lead to the issuing of a lighter charge. While there is the possibility that Mirzaev could receive no more jail time since he has no prior offenses, it is expected that he would likely receive the two year max sentence. Also, despite the lesser charge, the court refused to let Mirzaev go free on bail until trial.
The case has been a true “lose-lose” situation for all involved. The court was guaranteed to hear some backlash no matter what they decided as this case has attracted a large amount of people more concerned with the cultural implications of the case, something Mirzaev’s lawyers have tried to downplay as much as possible.
While any time in a Russian prison is dangerous, it appears the once-promising featherweight could be spared a far worse fate for one mistake.