Russian athletes continue to suffer the consequences for their country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Most recently, GLORY Kickboxing announced that it had terminated the contracts of all its Russian competitors due to the ongoing war, adding that the current global situation has made it “impossible” for them to arrange fights for Russian fighters.
“Due to the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine which GLORY condemns, GLORY has encountered a variety of obstacles that have made it impossible to arrange bouts for its Russian athletes, barriers like travel bans, safety concerns, payment blockages in an environment of worldwide financial sanctions against Russian, and unwilling opponents,” read the official statement.
Current GLORY light-heavyweight champion Artem Vakhitov was among the Russian athletes to have their contracts released. As a result, top contenders Luis Tavares and Sergej Maslobojev will compete for the vacant title in the GLORY 81 co-main event on Aug. 20 in Dusseldorf, Germany.
According to GLORY Executive Vice Chairman Scott Rudmann, the organization’s decision was to cut ties with Russian athletes was due to “insurmountable” challenges rather than an attempt to punish the fighters for their government’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We’d like to deeply thank our Russian athletes for their cooperation during this challenging time and for their historic performances in our league. We value them as athletes and competitors, and friends, and this regrettable situation is not their fault. It is not our fault either,” said Rudmann. “We respect their careers and commitment to the sport, and we’ve gone to enormous lengths to try and make various bouts happen for them, but the real-world challenges are insurmountable in today’s environment.”
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the world’s largest nation has transformed into a pariah in the world of sports. Russia’s national and club soccer teams have been banned from international competition, including the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. UEFA also canceled its $45 million a year sponsorship deal with Gazprom, and moved the Champions League Final, which was due to play in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, to Paris. The International Paralympic Committee also moved to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus on the eve of the Paralympic Games in Beijing.
More recently, the Wimbledon Championships moved to bar Russian and Belarusian athletes from taking part in the prestigious tennis major.
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