US authorities have refused a visa to Russian-born MMA fighter Mairbek Taisumov, putting paid to a proposed fight on the undercard of Khabib Nurmagomedov v Tony Ferguson at UFC 223 on April 7.

Taisumov was scheduled to fight American Evan Dunham at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York City in a lightweight bout on the card. That fight has now been canceled in what Taisumov has labeled a “political decision.”

“The strangest thing is I have already been to the US. I had a working visa for two years. I had fights in America, and everything was fine. Now it appears I can’t get a visa and I don’t know why,” Taisumov told MMA Fighting.

“It is all simply politics, but it could have a greater effect on lives of ordinary people, like me,” he added.

Taisumov, who was born in Chechnya but moved to Austria as a child, told RT Sport exclusively last year that he would “smash the UFC top 10” of his division once he was granted a visa.

The 29-year-old Grozny native has a record of 26-5-0 in professional MMA, fighting once in the US in 2011. He has posted six wins and one loss since joining the UFC ranks in 2014.

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