by Dane McGuire
The global sports community is reacting to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, including the UFC-partnered International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.
The amateur governing body, which has sought Olympic recognition of the sport since its inception in 2012, has responded by suspending the membership of the Russian MMA Union (RMMAU) and the Federation of Hand-to-Hand Fighting & MMA of Belarus.
IMMAF said on its website:
“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, organized by BRAVE but sanctioned by the IMMAF under IMMAF rules and regulations.”
The move also prevents the organization of IMMAF events in Russia or Belarus.
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:
“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.”
Additionally, the IMMAF first put out a statement of support for Ukraine posted February 25.
Today, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation issued the following statement regarding the war in Ukraine, in support of its people and the MMA League of Ukraine, which is a committed and well-loved member of IMMAF.
“Our hearts go out to our friends and colleagues in Ukraine at this terrible time as we hope and pray for their safety and well-being.
Sport affirms our belief in the power that comes from people of all nations coming together in peace, solidarity and friendship. IMMAF urges for rapid de-escalation and end to war, and peaceful resolution.”
Olympic news site InsideTheGames.biz noted as of March 1:
“Today, Ukrainian authorities confirmed Belarusian troops have joined Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by entering the Chernihiv region in the north.
Kharkiv was also hit by a large explosion with emergency services saying at least 10 people were killed and 24 injured in a Russian rocket strike…
The International Criminal Court is scheduled to start an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.”