Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to have an impact on the combat sports world, as Bellator’s reigning welterweight champion will not be defending his title this May.
Bellator MMA officials confirmed on Wednesday that the undefeated Yaroslav Amosov (26-0) is “actively defending his home country of Ukraine” and has withdrawn from his Bellator 281 main event fight vs. Michael Page.
“Like the rest of the world, we’ve been shocked by the tragic events in Ukraine and the thoughts of everyone at Bellator MMA are with Yaroslav and all the Ukrainian people during this time,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “We wish he and his family the best and look forward to seeing him return safely to happier times, both inside and out of the Bellator cage.”
England’s Page (20-1) will still headline the May 13th card in an interim title bout against four-time All-American NCAA wrestler Logan Storley (13-1), who’s coming off a five-round decision win over Neiman Gracie and whose only defeat came by split decision against Amosov. It’ll be the first title shot of any sort for either Page or Storley.
Amosov won the Bellator belt with a dominant unanimous decision over Douglas Lima last June. In recent weeks he has helped evacuate his family from Ukraine, but has stayed in his homeland and shared harrowing footage of the war in social media videos.
Yasrolav is not the only high-level Ukrainian combat sports athlete whose career and upcoming fights have been impacted by the war in their homeland. Two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-division world boxing champion Vasiliy Lomachenko has decided to stay in Ukraine as part of a territorial defense battalion and will not challenge unified lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr in Australia this June. Meanwhile, unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, who also joined a defense battalion, has reportedly left Ukraine to prepare for his summer rematch with Anthony Joshua.
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