Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Fedor Says Russian MMA Fighters Are Treated Like “Hostages”

Fedor Emelianenko wants to see Russia’s suspension for International Mixed Martial Arts Federation competition come to an end.

Emelianenko, an MMA legend and president of the Russian MMA Union, has asked for Russian athletes to compete at next year’s IMMAF European Championships. Presently, Russia is indefinitely suspended amidst the ongoing war with Ukraine.

Russia was barred from competing at this year’s European Championships, while Ukraine was still permitted to compete. Several Ukrainian athletes earned gold medals at the events.

Fedor Emelianenko Calls For A Stop To Russia’s IMMAF Exclusion

Fedor Emelianenko

In a statement to the Russian news agency Tass, Emelianenko called for Russian MMA athletes to be allowed to compete in IMMAF events.

“Until recently, sport was out of politics, and now the situation has developed that talented Russian athletes are hostages of socio-political problems between states,” Emelianenko said. “Hopes, plans and colossal efforts have been reduced to zero, faith in the justice of the main principles of Olympism has been lost. We are sure that athletes should compete with worthy opponents, because this is the most important thing for the development of sports. And our team is one of the strongest in the world.

“A whole competitive and constantly developing team has dropped out of the world MMA. We would like to note that this year the Russian national team was formed as part of the national championship and is ready to take part in all international competitions next year.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has divided the MMA community, though most have spoken against the war. Bellator Welterweight Champion Yaroslav Amosov and others have stayed in Ukraine to defend their home against the Russian forces.

A polish MMA fighter, Tomasz Walentek, lost his life on the frontlines while fighting in support of Ukraine.

Emelianenko’s fighting future remains uncertain following a win over Tim Johnson at Bellator 269. He’s advocated for a heavyweight title fight against Ryan Bader for his MMA swan song.

IMMAF has yet to respond to Emelianenko’s plea and Russia’s potential spot in the 2023 European Championships remains foggy.

All quotes from Bloody Elbow