Judo fighter slammed after sparring with fully-grown brown bear in Russia

A controversial video shows a black-belt Judo fighter engage in what he says is a friendly tussle with a huge bear he helped to rescue when the animal was just a cub.

The play-fight was filmed in the city of Perm in the western Russian region of Perm Krai when professional fighter Andrey Sitnikov went to visit the three-year-old brown bear at a friend’s house.

Andrey and his pals found the bear when it was around three months old in a pitiful condition, without any sign of its mother.

He said: “The cub was starving, in a bad state and seemed really scared.”



The bear was named Potapych – after a bear in an animated film that loved drinking vodka.

Andrey added: “We gave it accommodation and called a vet to check up on it regularly.”

Andrey said the bear is now three years old and only lets people who cared for it as a cub play with it.



Judo fighter slammed after sparring with fully-grown brown bear in Russia

The bear is seen play-fighting with its rescuer in its enclosure in the clip and seems to let its smaller rival win the bout.

Andrey posted the video on his Instagram page where it has been watched more than 170,000 times in a single day.



Judo fighter slammed after sparring with fully-grown brown bear in Russia

The pro-fighter, who fights judo-style and the Soviet martial art Sambo, accompanied the video with the message: “The year I planned to take part in a judo and Sambo championship, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“Despite that, training hasn’t stopped and I continue to spar with Potapych.”

But some animal lovers were appalled by the raucous scenes and left a flurry of angry comments underneath Andrey’s post.

One upset woman wrote: “This is so sad to look at the animal here.”

And another person commented: “This is a huge stress for the bear.

“How stupid this man is. He jumped to a pet bear to train with.

“If you want real training – go to the forest.

“This is nothing else but a circus.”

Appearing to think the judo fighter was risking his neck, another wrote: “This guy won’t have a single chance of survival if the bear gets angry.”

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