For months now, the Russia-Ukraine war has been affecting combat sports as almost every promotion houses a number of Russian athletes. The impact of the ongoing conflict between the two countries has reached a crescendo when mainstream kickboxing promotion, GLORY decided to terminate all the contracts of Russian fighters under its umbrella.
GLORY accepted the IOC’s recommendation to allow Russian athletes to compete solely as neutral competitors. This recommendation has been in place since last February. GLORY decided that, due to the war conditions, it was in the best interest of the athletes to release them from their contractual obligations and allow them to compete elsewhere.
A “regrettable situation”
GLORY kickboxing has recently announced that the company was prompted to terminated all Russian athletes due to the complications from the war in Ukraine. The promotion broke it down with a heavy heart in a statement, stressing that the “regrettable situation” they are in is not anybody’s fault.
“We’d like to deeply thank our Russian athletes for their cooperation during this challenging time and for their historic performances in our league. We value them as athletes, competitors, and friends, and this regrettable situation is not their fault. It’s not our fault either,” GLORY Executive Vice Chairman Scott Rudmann said.
What about the title holders?
Some of you may be wondering what GLORY would do with Russian fighter Artem Vakhitov, who is currently the promotion’s light heavyweight champion.
According to Rudmann, Vakhitov and “other Russian fighters” will be welcomed back once the war is over.
“We respect their careers and commitment to the sport, and we’ve gone to enormous lengths to try and make various bouts happen for them, but the real-world challenges are insurmountable in today’s environment,” Rudmann continued. “Hopefully this terrible war initiated by the Russian government will get resolved as quickly as possible, and Artem Vakhitov and other Russian fighters will be able to return to the GLORY ring where they will be welcomed.”
🚨 BREAKING: Luis Tavares and Sergej Maslobojev will fight for the undisputed Light Heavyweight Title on August 20 at #GLORY81.
— GLORY Kickboxing (@GLORY_WS) June 17, 2022
Until then, the light heavyweight strap will be up for grabs with top contenders Luis Tavares and Sergej Maslobojev set to compete for it in the upcoming GLORY 81 event on Aug. 20 in Germany.
This whole political thing affecting a lot of Russian athletes, especially guys from Dagestan, Chechnya and the Caucuses, and nobody talking about it. It’s sad because these guys did nothing wrong. It’s extremely hard to get Visas for these guys.
— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) June 16, 2022
Since the war began, an array of combat sports promotions, including the UFC, have reportedly been dealing with a number of setbacks which include, but not limited to travel bans, safety concerns, payment blockages, and unwilling opponents. As a result of the release of contracts with several Russian athletes, the current GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion Artem Vakhitov has given up the title.