UFC, MMA Fighting & Combat Sports Lifestyle

UFC, MMA Fighting & Combat Sports Lifestyle

Russian MMA Fighter in Ukraine War Seeks Political Office

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It would appear that Vladimir Mineev, the Russian mixed martial arts athlete who volunteered to take part in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, is entering the political ring to fight for his country. 

Mineev recently came clean about his intentions to run for the People’s Council in the Russian-occupied eastern Ukrainian territory of Donetsk People’s Republic.


“Vladimir Mineev submitted documents for participation in the preliminary vote,” Mineev’s team told Russian state-owned news agency TASS. “He plans to participate in the election of deputies of the People’s Council of the DPR.”

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The former paratrooper, who is now 33 years old, volunteered to fight in the Ukraine war on the condition that he be granted permission to compete in one final kickboxing match before beginning his service. He prepared for the fight in the seized city of Mariupol in Ukraine and went on to win the fight by technical knockout on November 18, 2022, against Fernando Rodriguez of Brazil. Soon after that, he enlisted in the military and is now stationed in Donetsk, which is located in the eastern part of Ukraine and is being held by Russian forces at the moment. 

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“It was such a difficult year for me. You all understand what I mean,” Mineev told the crowd in Moscow following his win. “And it is, in fact, just the beginning for me. I want to take a break in my sports life. You know that I received a summons, I have objective reasons not to go there. But for myself, I have already made a decision and I am going to fulfill it.”


Mineev is not even close to being the only mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter to join the fight in Ukraine. In March of 2022, a kickboxing champion who was also a member of the infamous Azov regiment, an ultra-nationalist force of the National Guard of Ukraine that includes neo-Nazis, was killed while fighting in Mariupol. After another three months, Ukrainian boxer Oleg Prudky was killed while fighting on the front lines of the conflict.

Tomasz Walentek, a Polish mixed-martial-arts fighter who had recruited for the International Defence Legion of Ukraine, was killed by Russian artillery fire in the Donbas region in August 2022. Medalist boxer Maksym Galinichev of Ukraine from the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games and champion kickboxer Vitaly Merinov of Ukraine were both killed in March of 2023. 

The most recent death to occur was on April 7, 2023, when a Russian Greco-Roman wrestler who was also the son of a previous sports minister in Russian-occupied Crimea was killed in battle. 

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Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, there have been around 250 athletes from Ukraine have been killed, as stated by Vadym Gutzeit, Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine.  Because of this, Ukraine has advocated for the prolonged exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competitions, even after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) indicated that it would be open to the possibility of Russia and Belarus returning to international games as neutrals.

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, has reportedly told sports federations that individual athletes from those nations should be permitted to go back to competition under a neutral status, without an identifying flag or national anthem, provided they do not show solidarity with their country’s continuing invasion and are not linked to the country’s military or national security agencies. Critics have questioned whether or not the planned restrictions would be effective, despite the fact that they would drastically reduce the number of competitors Russia could send to the Olympics.

In the meantime, the Ukrainian government issued a directive barring national team members and sports federations from competing in international competitions that included athletes from Russia or Belarus.

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