AMON AMARTH frontman Johan Hegg has clarified his criticism of the UFC, saying that Russian fighters should be banned from completing on upcoming cards in order to put enough pressure on Russian president Vladimir Putin and his regime so that he will end his country’s war in Ukraine.
Hegg wrote on his Twitter account earlier this week: “As long as @ufc allows Russian fighters to compete and make money, while children die in Ukraine, @ufc will not get my money. I have now cancelled my fight pass. Athletes represent their country and regime. Allowing Russian fighters to compete is to support Putin.”
After a number of people objected to Hegg‘s suggestion that Russian athletes must also be punished for their government’s aggression, AMON AMARTH frontman returned to his social media further explaining:
“I feel I have to clarify my point of view.
“I love watching @ufc , and I have nothing but respect for the skill and dedication of the athletes competing in the octagon.
“What is happening right now in Ukraine is a tragedy. It’s the biggest war we’ve seen in Europe since WWII.
“Two weeks ago Putin made an unprovoked attack on Ukraine. A democratic, sovereign nation. In doing so he caused the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in modern history. 1.5 million people has fled the war so far.
“Putin‘s armies are committing war crimes such as shelling residential areas, hospitals and even firing on civilians trying to flee. So far over 30 children have been killed in this war. More than 70 wounded.
“Putin has repeatedly broken cease fire agreements, basically luring people out of their shelters only to hit them with artillery.
“Am I angry and frustrated? Yes.
“This war doesn’t only threaten and affect Ukraine. Putin has threatened to invade Finland and Sweden. He threatens the whole of Europe. Ukraine will not be able to export wheat and other crops during the invasion, which will have consequences for Middle Eastern and African nations that depend heavily on the Black Sea region for food. World Food Programme (WFP) executive director David Beasley has warned that the ‘world cannot afford to let another conflict drive the numbers of hungry people even higher.’ Putin has threatened the world, including the US with Nuclear weapons.
“Is it fair to target Russian fighters/athletes with sanctions? I think it is. It’s not that I want to hurt them personally, but there is no middle ground here. Athletes have influence. If they don’t want to speak up against this war, then why should they escape sanctions when people actually protesting the war in Russia, at the risk of being imprisoned or worse, do not?
“You don’t have to agree with me, I don’t expect everyone to do so, but in my opinion the world has to put enough pressure on Putin and his regime that he will end this war.”