The focus of my series “Eye$ Wide Shut” led me to the Netherlands late last year. I acquired a translator to help me with the news articles and help me find sources on the ground but after a few weeks of communication they stopped responding. Which made it harder to work on the leads that I found but I pushed on…
It’s no secret that if you look hard enough, you can find ties to organized crime in almost every boxing gym or kickboxing gym. But the world famous Golden Glory kickboxing gym has a deep history with organized crime. Considering co-founder Ron Nyqvist was a well known gangster and murderer. Ron Nyqvist, was killed in 2015 after serving 9 of a 20 year prison sentence for killing two gangsters. The two gangsters had tried to kill Nyqvist and his girlfriend with a car bomb but the attempt was a failure and Nyqvist executed both men.
Ron along with promoter Bas Boon started Golden Glory in 1999.
Shortly after the gym was founded Ron reached out to current UFC Fighter and former K-1 Champion Alistair Overeem and his older brother Valentijn Overeem to start training at Golden Glory.
Other notable fighters from Golden Glory include former K-1 Champion Semmy Schilt, former K-1 Champion Gokhan Saki, Bellator fighter Sergei Kharitonov and former Strikeforce Champion Marloes Coenen.
Gang related shootings like the one in 2014 of MMA figher Hans Nijman will become more common as the Kinahan cartel expand in the Netherlands. Nijman along with his business partner and MMA fighter Dick Vrij owned a gym in Beverwijk, Netherlands. Both were believed to be bodyguards of Dutch cartel leaders.
Even fighters who appear to have no criminal record or direct ties with organized crime are being swept into the body count. Former Glory champion Marc de Bonte’s body was found late last year near a river. Marc was on his way to his girlfriend’s house after a party at his gym in Bladel, he never made it home.
Then there are fighters who publicly show their connections to organized crime. Like former K-1 champion Badr Hari’s long time friendship with Dutch crime boss Gwenette Martha who was murdered in Amsterdam in 2014. Gwenette Martha was a key player in the cocaine trade in the Netherlands.
Gwenette was involved in a gang war over a missing cocaine shipment worth €14M and was one of the fatalities from the conflict.
With the death of Gwenette Martha his lieutenant’s like Naoufal Fassih are rising to power and forming stronger ties with the Kinahan cartel. Fassih fled the Netherlands after he paid three hitmen €10,000 each to kill his rival Peter Rapp. The Kinahan cartel provided him with a fake passport and a safe house in Dublin.
Fassih was later arrested in Dublin hiding out in one of Kinahan’s safe houses. Fassih has been extradited back to Holland to face criminal charges.
Kinahan Cartel Business
It’s obvious cartel boss Christy Kinahan is focused on the Netherlands and Belgium. He is currently fighting a money laundering conviction in Belgium. One sources quoted this as an “unusual move for someone like him to take because it could take years”. The source later followed up with “Maybe he’s planning on returning to Belgium and embarking on some new business venture.”
With the Kinahan cartel focusing their business growth in the Netherlands, Spain, Dubai and Africa. Business is not doing so well back home in Ireland for other major crime syndicates.
The Kinahan cartel have caused so much publicity that police activity in Ireland has increased drastically. So much so that the IRA are demanding the Kinahan cartel compensate them for loss of profits. This could breakout in a major gang war between the Kinahan cartel, who were spotted in Dublin a few months ago, and the New IRA along with the Hutch Gang.
Crime boss and son of Christy Kinahan, Daniel Kinahan has also had to take a step back in his other business ventures.
Daniel runs the day to day for his father but he is also owner of the world famous MTK Global boxing gym. However, Daniel’s drug empire has finally caused too much “bad press” for his business partner and former boxer Matthew Macklin. Daniel has agreed to take a backseat in managing the fighters. Even though he will continue to “advise a lot of the fighters.”
For Irish fighters like Conor McGregor all of these headlines would be reason to hire bodyguards to follow you everywhere.
Especially when you choose to party with some of the key players in the money laundering side of the business. Like well-known gangster Andrew Murray who has deep ties with Irish gangs and Christopher ‘Git’ Russell, gangland’s secret millionaire.
Keep following my “Eye$ Wide Shut” series as I follow the Kinahan Cartel across the globe. Gym’s like Golden Glory and MTK Global are feeding grounds for cartel leaders. Any way they can clean their money they will do it and fighters don’t seem to care too much, as long as they get a piece of the action.
Like Gegard Mousasi said in a 2015 interview:
“It’s easier for fighters to get involved in crime because of their mentality and where they come from. […] It depends on the person. You can easier get in contact with someone who does some activities that are not allowed. […] Fighters are not the richest guys, and if someone comes and tells them they can make good money, then some of them will do it.”