As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to intensify, it was impossible to ignore the conflagration at UFC 272 last night (Sat., March 5, 2022) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Two moments during the event that stuck out followed the wins of Russia’s Umar Nurmagomedov and Ukraine’s Maryna Moroz, who addressed the conflict directly during her post-fight speech.
Nurmagomedov — who hails from the Russian republic of Dagestan — received boos from the boisterous crowd inside T-Mobile Arena simply for thanking, “my fans in Dagestan, Russia, and all over the world.” As for Moroz, she received a big ovation after her win before tearing up during her interview with Joe Rogan.
“If you know my country has war right now, and my family is in Ukraine,” she said. “I had a hard week. I worried. I cried because my family right now is in a bad situation. Thank you for everyone who messaged me and supported me because this week was hard for me. I wanted to cry because of this war in my country. Thank you, everyone.”
Umar Nurmagomedov thanked everyone in Russia/Dagestan and got booed pic.twitter.com/1KIxFu1Csq— Follow @FTB_VIDS (@FTB_VIDS) March 6, 2022
During the UFC 272 post-fight press conference Moroz expanded on just how tough of a week it’s been for her as the war in Ukraine threatens her family.
“I feel like my mother right now is nervous, and I’m nervous for my mother,” Moroz said. “I don’t want Russian people to come and kill my family, because many of my friends are dying right now. They call me and say ‘He died. Russian army killed him.’ And I feel terrible and every day I think if someone comes and kills my family? I don’t want that. I want people to listen and stop this because I want to save my family.”
With sanctions widening and several countries canceling visas for Russian athletes, there’s a decent chance a Heavyweight main event between Tom Aspinall and Alexander Volkov set for UFC London on March 19, 2022, may get scrapped. UFC President, Dana White, addressed the possibility during his post-fight media scrum.
“I hope not, but we’ll figure it out if it does,” White said. “We’ll see how this thing plays out. We’re trying to get [Volkov] out there early and ... uh, he didn’t want to leave early. If he can’t get into the country we’ll make another [fight] for Tom Aspinall. He’s from the U.K. so we’d find him another opponent.”
The war is going to continue to send shockwaves through the world, and it’s unsurprising that a company like UFC with so many international athletes would end up being affected. In the end, it all seems so small compared to the terrible situation on the ground in Ukraine. We can only hope for a swift return to peace and end to the death and destruction.
For complete UFC 272 results and coverage click here.