Fedor Emelianenko is calling for the IMMAF to end Russia’s suspension from future events.
The MMA legend and president of the Russian MMA Union, Emelianenko, wants the IMMAF (International Mixed Martial Arts Federation) to allow Russians to compete at next year’s European Championships.
Russia is currently suspended from fighting due to the ongoing war with Ukraine, yet Ukrainian athletes are still permitted to compete. The IMMAF banned the Russian and Belarusian teams from its competitions in March of this year.
“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. 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.”
It is true that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has affected the MMA community. It is also true that there is uncertainty as to whether politics and sport should collide.
There has yet to be an official response to Fedor Emelianenko’s request that Russia be allowed to play in the 2023 European Championships.