In amateur MMA scandal. President of the Ukrainian Federation for Mixed Martial Arts Volodymyr Teslya said that athletes from Russia would not be allowed to the European Championship in Kiev. The tournament is to be held in the Ukrainian capital from 5 to 9 November. If Kiev really does prevent the participation of Russian fighters, then our neighbors may be deprived of the European Championship. This has already been announced by the Global Mixed Martial Arts Association (GAMMA). The MMA Union of Russia declares that the upcoming tournament in Ukraine is completely illegitimate – the Euro was already held in Kazan in August, and it was the domestic fighters that won the victory there.
Sports and politics
Last week, President of the Ukrainian Federation of Mixed Martial Arts Volodymyr Teslya made a sensational statement.
«Our main demand for the European Championship sounded short and categorical: there should not be a single fighter from Russia, – Sportarena.com quotes Tesla. – They [россияне] reacted with understanding and went to meet. Therefore, raids on our federation are absolutely groundless. We are doing everything to develop the sport and will certainly raise martial arts to the highest level. “
Tesley’s words for Izvestia were commented on by the president of the MMA Union of Russia, Radmir Gabdullin.
— The statement is shocking for us, ”he said. – We did not expect such a reaction at all, and it actually says a lot. What is most frustrating is that this functionary mixes sports with politics. In this case, athletes will suffer. This is unacceptable not only in MMA championships, but in general in all sports. Sport is out of politics, and if he really loves this kind and wants to develop it, he should at least be correct and careful in such statements when it comes to Russia. Athletes are the same people. They prepare, worry and strive for something, but when such officials with statements begin to try to declass someone, to infringe on their rights, it is very frustrating. And I personally have nothing but resentment and negativity towards this person.
At the same time, the President of the MMA Union stressed that the tournament in Kiev cannot be called a full-fledged European championship.
— Officially, the European MMA Championship was held this year in Kazan. We consider all other championships illegitimate, Said Radmir Gabdullin.
Indeed, still in August, the European MMA Championship was held in Kazan. There, our athletes won a landslide victory in the team medal standings, having won a total of 12 gold, 13 silver and 28 bronze medals. In the capital of Tatarstan, the continental championship was held according to the version of the International Federation of Mixed Martial Arts (IMMAF). In Kiev, the European Championship will be held according to the version of the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts.
It is worth clarifying that IMMAF is the largest MMA federation, so GAMMA is an alternative… Unfortunately, this division is found in many types of martial arts, such as kickboxing and taekwondo. This is often the reason that the sport cannot be included in the program of the Olympic Games (taekwondo is an exception). Nevertheless GAMMA has solid support from the One Championship promotion (ranked third in the world). True, IMMAF has a more serious partner – the UFC.
One Championship is a Singaporean promotion, respectively, while GAMMA has the strongest positions in Asia. So, in August, the GAMMA Asian Championship was held in Kyrgyzstan. The headquarters of the organization is located in the Netherlands.
On the morning of October 13, the situation cleared up. The press service of GAMMA told TASS that if Russian athletes are not allowed to the European Championship, then Ukraine will lose the right to host the tournament. Here I must say that initially the Euro was planned to be held in October in Georgia, but then there was a transfer to Ukraine. What this is connected with is not known exactly. Probably with a pandemic.
“During the preparations for the European Championship in 2021 in Ukraine, information appeared in the media about the comments that were given by UF MMA and Federation President Vladimir Tesley about discrimination against Russian athletes in the tournament and which were misinterpreted by the press,” GAMMA said in a statement. – This interpretation led to the fact that athletes from Russia mistakenly decided that they would not be allowed to compete at the European Championships for political reasons. In response to this GAMMA officially declares that it will never allow any national federation to prevent other athletes from participating in GAMMA tournaments for political, ideological or any other reasons. GAMMA and local organizers continue to work hard to host the European Championship at a level worthy of athletes from all over the continent. The 2021 European Championship in Ukraine will be open to all European countries – members of GAMMA ”.
The Global Association also stated that in case of discrimination any of the teams, the tournament may be transferred to another country.
This is not the first scandal in mixed martial arts involving Ukraine. In 2020, the TV company Setanta Sports did not broadcast the fight with the participation of the Russian MMA fighter Alexei Oleinik at the UFC tournament in the country. The TV channel explained its actions by the fact that the Ukrainian government decided not to broadcast the battles with the participation of the Russian. As a result, the entire UFC Fight Night 174 tournament in Las Vegas was shown, with the exception of the fight between Oleinik and American Derrick Lewis.