Fedor Emelianenko to join Russian delegation for national sports exhibition

Fedor Emelianenko: “Russian athletes are hostages of socio-political problems between states”

Mixed martial arts legend Fedor Emelianenko hopes to see Russia’s suspension for International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) competition come to an end, and soon.

Earlier this year, in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the IMMAF moved to suspend both Russian and Belarusian MMA federations. The international governing body for amateur MMA announced its decision in a press release.

The statement read:

“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 sport in boycotting Russia and Belarus in response to the nations’ attack on Ukraine.

The suspension will bar the Russian and Belarusian federations from participating in all IMMAF Championships for the foreseeable future. This will include the MMA Super Cup taking place next week from 8 to 12 March 2022, organised by BRAVE but sanctioned by the IMMAF under IMMAF rules and regulations.

The move also prevents the organisation of IMMAF events in Russia or Belarus.”

Now, almost a year after Russia invaded Ukraine and Russian fighters have been held accountable for their country’s actions, the most notable Russian fighter is speaking out.

Emelianenko, the former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion currently contracted to Bellator MMA, is also president of the Russian MMA Union.

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.”

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