IMMAF Suspends Russian and Belarusian MMA Federations

In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has moved to suspend both Russian and Belarusian MMA federations. The international governing body for amateur MMA announced the decision in the following press release on Tuesday afternoon:

“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.”

The move comes just a day after the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that “International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown explained how the decision was made “with sadness”:

“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.”

In conjunction with BRAVE CF, KHK Sports, and the Bahrain Mixed Martial Arts Federation, the IMMAF Nations “MMA Super Cup” is scheduled to take place in Bahrain between the 7th and 12th March. The tournament pits the 8 most successful nations in IMMAF competition history against each other, with a $100k prize purse on the line for the overall winner. RMMAU were originally scheduled to face Team Ireland in the first round of the MMA Super Cup, but the Russian team will no longer be allowed to compete.

IMMAF officials confirmed to that they are actively working to finalize two replacement teams for Russia and Ukraine, with the aim of keeping the 8-nation format.

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