Revered Russian mixed martial artist Fedor Emelianenko expressed ‘shock’ over reports that hundreds of thousands are fleeing Russia to avoid being drafted in his invasion of Ukraine.
In February, Russia invaded their neighboring country, much to the chagrin of the rest of the world which has repeatedly condemned Putin’s actions as the president of Europe’s largest country. Two weeks ago, the controversial president instituted a draft and mobilization of new military members totaling over 200,000 citizens. As a result, hundreds of thousands are fleeing to other neighboring countries including Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia.
Emelianenko, a Soviet-born icon in combat sports, shared his thoughts on the news that his countrymen were fleeing their homes to avoid being called to action in an invasion that many of them simply don’t agree with.
“There are different [reactions] in my environment, people have different thoughts, questions arise, said Emelianenko to Championat. But for me personally, it was a great discovery and a slight shock when you read the news in our country, what is happening in the military registration and enlistment offices and that people are fleeing the draft.”
Even more disturbing, some individuals are resorting to self-harm in order to avoid being drafted. Forbes revealed that search terms like “how to break a leg,” “how to break an arm,” and “how to break an arm at home” saw a significant spike just days after the draft was announced.
Two Russians traveled from Russia to a small island in Alaska to avoid President Vladimir Putin’s draft to fight in Ukraine, two senators said on Thursday. They landed on a beach on St. Lawrence Island and requested asylum in the U.S., the senators said. https://t.co/8LpuBAaoGF pic.twitter.com/aWWx8lqZ5P
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 6, 2022
Vladimir Putin and Fedor Emelianenko Have a History of Friendship and Respect
Fedor Emelianenko is widely regarded as one of the greatest MMA fighters in the history of the sport, though some dispute this claim due to a lack of fights under the UFC banner. Even so, ‘The Last Emperor’ has fought and defeated some of the best fighters in the history of the sport including Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Mark Hunt, and former UFC heavyweight champions Frank Mir, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, and Mark ‘The Hammer’ Coleman.
Emelianenko has fought under the PRIDE, Strikeforce, and Bellator MMA banners. In his most recent appearance, ‘The Last Emperor’ scored a first-round knockout of Tim Johnson at Bellator 269.
Fedor Emelianenko has played a large role in MMA’s popularity across the country of Russia. Vladimir Putin even recognized his contributions to the sport in their country.
“I want to congratulate Fedor and thank him from all of us, martial arts fans. It is because of him this sport became so popular in our country.”
The two have remained friends for the last several years and even train together in MMA. Asked about training with the Russian President in 2015, ‘The Last Emperor’ said that “Vladimir Putin is made of steel.”