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2 Mar, 2022 14:03

UFC boss has ‘no idea’ about status of Russian fighters

Dana White says he can't say yet how sanctions might affect his stable of Russian fighters
UFC boss has ‘no idea’ about status of Russian fighters

UFC president Dana White says that he has “no idea” the impact that international sanctions may have on his roster of Russian fighters, as the current conflict in Ukraine casts doubt on the visa status of the likes of Alexander Volkov and Petr Yan.

Giant Moscow heavyweight Volkov is due in the English capital later this month to headline the UFC London event opposite hometown fighter Tom Aspinall, but questions have been raised if he, and other fighters of Russian origin, will fall foul of sanctions which have been levied at several figures and institutions within the country in the wake of the military operation in Ukraine. 

This comes after the UK home secretary announced that “national sports teams of those countries who are complicit in Putin’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine” will be disallowed from competing on United Kingdom soil. 

However, it is not yet certain how this may impact the rights of individual sportspeople like Volkov – though his team did issue a statement to MMA website Sherdog to say that a UK visa had already been obtained for the London card on March 19.

Dana White, it seems, is equally in the dark but announced in an interview with TSN that he had unsuccessfully petitioned for Volkov to fly to England ahead of schedule.

We’re trying to get him into England sooner so he can fight,” the UFC president said.

When things like this start blowing up, we start looking at potential problems and what possibilities are, and we try to get around them.

“We try to figure out, ‘If that’s going to happen, let’s get these guys into England earlier.’ I know that we’ve been trying to get Volkov to leave Russia, and he hasn’t wanted to.

Like I tell you guys all the time, just when you think the world’s about to get normal again, it gets even nuttier,” added White, who spent much of the past two years dealing with the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So we’ll see how it works out. You keep asking me questions like, ‘Will Conor McGregor fight for the title when he comes back in the fall?’ I don’t know what’s going on in the fall. 

When the fall comes, we’ll see what’s happening. ‘If Petr Yan cannot get into the country?’ I have no idea what’s going to happen with Russia and all these other things. I don’t know.”