Fedor Emelianenko Calls Russian Athletes Political ‘Hostages’ in Plea to Lift IMMAF Ban

Heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko called for the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation to lift a ban on Russian athletes

Fedor Emelianenko
Courtesy of @ESPNMMA on Twitter

Heavyweight MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko believes Russian athletes are being treated as political “hostages” in a recent statement.

Regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights in mixed martial arts history, Emelianenko is a proud Russian athlete and currently operates as the president of the Russian MMA Union. Recently, ‘The Last Emperor‘ submitted an appeal to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation to allow Russian athletes to compete in 2023 after the organization handed Russia an indefinite suspension in the wake of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

“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,” said Emelianenko in a statement obtained by Tass.ru. “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,” Emelianenko concluded.

Fedor Emelianenko Hopes the IMMAF Will Reconsider Their Ban of Russian Athletes

The IMMAF made a statement on their official website on March 1st, banning Russian athletes and standing in solidarity with the rest of the world that condemned the country’s horrific actions that have led to tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 14 million in less than a year’s time.

“The board of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has taken the decision to suspend the membership of the Russian MMA Union (RMMAU) and the Federation of Hand-to-Hand Fighting & MMA of Belarus. In doing so IMMAF unites with international sports in boycotting Russia and Belarus in response to the nations’ attack on Ukraine.”

IMMAF president Kerrith Brown issued a statement following the ban, saying:

“It is with sadness that the IMMAF board has taken this decision as we believe in the power of sport to unite people beyond politics. However, the homeland of our friends and colleagues in the MMA League of Ukraine is under attack and they have been forced from competing in next week’s Super Cup as they take to defending their country. We are compelled to unite with global sport in showing solidarity with Ukraine.”

Published on November 8, 2022 at 2:34 pm
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